The Tournament by Jaime Hayón

Landmark Project

19 — 27 Sept 2009

Craft, Industrial & Product Design, Materials

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square



In 2009, Jaime Hayón's giant chess set took over Trafalgar Square as a Landmark Project during London Design Festival.

Each of the 22 chess pieces were handcrafted by Hayón, working with Bosa, the Italian ceramics experts in Veneto, Italy. Each piece was created to represent a part of London or an iconic building. The chess pieces were supported on castors so that they could be moved around easily on the chess board. Chess players descended on the Square for a chance to play a real game with these two metre high pieces. Sir John Sorrell said: "The Trafalgar Square chess set by Jaime Hayón was just unbelievable. I think people found that very surprising. The fact that it was going on at the same time as Antony Gormley's Fourth Plinth installation was very interesting, and for a moment it seemed like the whole world of creativity was taking place in Trafalgar Square." Hayón based his piece on the Battle of Trafalgar, which Hayon saw as a turning point in European history, the chess battle representing the strategy that finally defeated French and Spanish forces. The pieces are all handmade in ceramics, said Hayón. For some of these pieces there's more than 300 hours of work. Supported by Bosa.