The Guest may appear simple, but there’s a lot more than meets the eye. Created by Jamie Hayon for Lladró, the bear-shaped figurine comes in two different sizes, the Small at 30cm or Large with a standing height of 52cm. Lladró was already creating interesting modern sculptures and figurines but The Guest took it one step further, collaborating with renowned artists and illustrators to put their fantasies into their creations. The collection took off after it was featured in a few music videos and collectors caught sight of the pieces in celebrities’ homes.
The ceramic toys have become canvases for modern expression, playing a crucial role in redefining style, art and fashion.
HOW IT STARTED
The making of The Guest (right).
Jaime Hayon was the Creative Director of Lladró and wanted to create a modern platform for cutting-edge artists from around to world to create distinctive figurines. Lladró is already well known for figurines and have been making them in porcelain since the 1950s, so he hatched a series that was able to merge Lladró’s expertise in figurines and porcelain, with a series that can have completely independent personalities. In this age of individualism and expression, one only has few ways to express that individuality, and in this case, in colour and style.
Whilst other toy figurines are normally reserved for kids, The Guest have an exclusively sophisticated adult collector base. As with any collector’s item, it is always much better to go into a purchase educated as there’s a bit of a learning curve to what story each piece tells. Let us tell you more about the most collectible limited editions. All of the below refer to the Small sized The Guest.
Spanish artist-designer Jaime Hayon has designed many pieces for Lladró, but none is closest to his ideal design other than his limited edition series for The Guest. His whimsical design style is shaped from the skateboard culture and graffiti art culture he submerged himself in, to draw inspiration from as foundation of the detailed, bold-yet-whimsical hand drawn markings imminent in his work today.
Jaime’s The Guest is playful, with an asymmetrical take on the details. Both “ears“ have opposing details, both “eyes“ are different. The details on this piece, together with the modern colour way of gold, white, black and yellow makes it easy to use in any space, non-intrusive in the aesthetic of your space, until one looks closer at it, just like how any Jaime Hayon piece should be.
Pop art is the name of the game for Gary Baseman, an American contemporary artist, the artist behind Emmy-winning ABC/Disney cartoon series, Teacher’s Pet, and the artistic designer of the popular award-winning board game, Cranium.
Using his talent of using a cartoonish style to present gruesome content and thoughts, Gary Baseman’s The Guest seemingly has a cheerful cheeky demeanour at first glance. Look closer and you’ll see bleeding flowers peeking out of his hoodie. The motif on its hoodie is analogous to a celebratory bouquet of flowers in someone’s home. The personal nostalgic symbols continue with wallpaper-like repetition of the bouquet of flowers, finished off with what seems to be all-over-bleeding, making the viewer uncomfortable with what that means…
Rolito borrowed inspiration from his son Leonard Kitaro for his rendition of The Guest. This project was a very personal one - to dream up a superhero of the night who, together with his partner, protects sleepers and lights up dreams with his magical pyjamas and his bright shiny feet. As a superhero, Rolito's The Guest has an armour, decorated in 3D effect and finished off in both silver and gold lustre. The superhero, although with an armour and is a strong character, isn’t as intimating as you’d think, as he is sprinkled with childhood fantasies of a little child.
Rolito is a cult-favourite character designer, illustrator and art designer based in Europe. His creation of critically acclaimed Patapon has earned him a wide range of clients, including Passion Pictures, Ubisoft, LG and Orange. His personal project “Rolitoland“, was a flash-animated microcosm that showcased his unique world of imagination, winning him many awards and accolades in festivals worldwide.
Marshmallow-y in appearance, The Guest by Devilrobots is a celebration of child-like innocence. The design collaborative consists of 5 men and are well known for their symbolic graphics, character designs, web designs, toys, clothing and more. Best known for their character, To-Fu Oyako, their character design is instantly recognisable.
The piece they created looks child-like, with a pink stripped pyjama pants and a white and pastel coloured hoodie. Polka dots is also used to a cute effect - creating an illusion that the 3 dots on the face of The Guest are part of his persona. But don’t take the cute-as-a-button design at face value, The Guest they created is completely black underneath, showing that although The Guest presents itself as a certain persona, we never know what lies beneath. Devilrobots’ moto to a T - “cute, but toxic“.