Frédéric Haven

Good in Furniture Design.

About Frédéric Haven

With the assistance of my family, friends and partners, I gave birth to a vision and established the Havani furniture brand in 2019. After a decade of selling emotionally approached products, I participated in my father's consultancy firm - Frenico International BVBA - that's mainly experienced in the carpet- and natural stone industry, where I learned how companies start-up, grow and/or strategically transform with the support of the Flemish government (Vlaio). I invested in a longterm Management Course at the Vlerick Business School and found an opportunity to create my own brand of emotionally approached products: Havani.

  • Winner of Furniture Design Award.
  • Specialized in Furniture Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Furniture
Marcello Dining Table

Marcello Dining Table

Furniture Design


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Interview with Frédéric Haven

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
Ever since my youth, I've been very passionate about cars, preferably sports cars. I loved all the forms and lines, and how they connected or didn't connect. I also loved them in different colors because my first impression of the same vehicule in a dark or in a light color, was totally different. I believe my passion for design and luxurious materials, originated from my love for sportscars.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
I've started this company in 2018, one year after my Business School education. The company was established to build the Havani brand. We wanted to start with dining tables and add add coffee tables and benches as followed. Furthermore, we focus always focus on the customer journey and experience. When clients visit our company, they are delighted with a tour and training about the characteristics of natural stone. On our site, we have access to the warehouses of our neighbour with 55000m² of natural stones. This is the best possible way to share our passion with our customers, when they visit us.
What is "design" for you?
When all visible forms and lines, offer functional purpose next to an impressive aesthetic value.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
The Havani Papillon Ellips dining table. It's amazing how I managed to create such a beautiful table that was never invented before. To make every leg dismountable and connect them so elegantly in a centered octagon that can be finished with the same material as the tabletop, was an incredible achievement for me. Furthermore the short table legs are assymetricly positioned compared to the long table legs, which was mandatory for users not to touch the frame with their knees allround.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
Brazillian Quartzite because it has similar characteristics as granite with the looks of marble but without the disadvantages of it.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
Family, friends, generations, cultures, connections, education, tradition, pain and happiness.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
Function, stability, aesthetics and if it fits the current or upcoming trends.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
I cannot say, i can only feel upcoming trends and trends evolving from thin to thick and from straight to slightly bowed and so on.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
Maison et Objet 2020, next exhibition might be Biennale Interieur 2020 at Kortrijk, or Design September in Brussels.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
I investigate the market and try to create a design that brings value to the market and to the end-customer. For example, with the Marcello and the Papillon dining tables, I've focused on bending thin steel sheets, as minimalistic as possible. In the market are many tubular steel frames, which are easier and cheaper. This way the craftsmanship difficulty, becomes a value for the customer.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
Elegant, slim, neat, sleek, modern, minimal and simplistic designs. It's more of a challenge to make something strong and stable with minimal use of materials and therefore it's more of a value to the customer in my opinion.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
Belgium near the creative city "Gent". I believe there is a great community in our country with talented design blood but above all, Belgium is full of small family companies that are now 3rd generation or more. These companies still specialise in a certain skill and material.
How do you work with companies?
I involve my Business Partners in our Business Development. They are an integrated part of our Business Model and so must understand and follow our vision and mission. I make clear understandings and agreements and always aim for longterm cooperations, because only then you can serve quality to your customers and keep serving them quality.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
It starts with an idea, followed by a market investigation and trend investigation. Only then we start drawing and when a drawing starts forming potential aestheticly and functionally, I will start the engineering and prototyping process.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
Of course our Marcello outdoor table and our Papillon indoor table. We have a coffee table with a unique Brazillian Quartzite and I love our design lamp from my friend Pierre De Valck. I also adore driving my oldtimer Porsche 968.
Can you describe a day in your life?
I wake up, shower, eat some bread for breakfast, go to the company, check my e-mails and agenda for meetings or deliveries, have a warm lunch mostly, have more meetings or deliveries in the afternoon and before I go home I try to do some marketing or checkin with our suppliers to follow up on deliveries. I go home and have dinner. If possible, I go swimming 2 times a week and once a week I play badminton and once a week I play squash. Sunny days I like to BBQ and see my friends.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Make sure you workout an entire Business Plan when they decide to market their designs. Too many fail to market their products (that are full of potential!!), because they lack Business Management skills. So my advice would be to find a trustworthy partner or hire a consultant .
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
A freelance engineer, strength calculations, tension calculations, hardware: laser, bending machine, welding metals, corten steel, coatings, waterjet cutting, etc..
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
The designing fases are planned in a timeline, which is an integral part of the total Business Plan. That means I plan months of designing and prototyping in the timeline, to achieve a certain minimum collection. I keep other prototypes in the "freezer", to continue working on later in a next fase when 1) there is time available, 2) it's necessary to refresh the collection and bring new designs in the brand.
What was your most important job experience?
Executing the theoretical Business Plan of creating a new brand (Havani) of High-end furniture with luxurious materials.
Who are some of your clients?
Furniture shops, doctors, Business owners, Luxurious garden architects, interior architects, small offices.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
Tables because a table is the only object that is at the center of a home and has the ability to enhance the connections between people, generations and cultures.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
Build up a B2B dealer network with Havani samplesets and natural stone training.
How can people contact you?
Via e-mail: frederic@havani.eu, or via Facebook or Instagram: "havanihi", or via whatsapp +32473982373

Extended Interview with Frédéric Haven

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I don't have a specific design background. I only have relevant working experience in the natural stone industry and customization of luxurious kitchens.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
Emotion. I was always attracted to emotionally approached end-products. Meaning a car or a table. These are objects that enhance emotions and connections between people, generations and cultures. This is why I became a designer myself, to be a part of something bigger.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
Focus on the current market of your product. Make a thorough existing solutions analysis and market investigation.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
I would say simplicity but as a matter of fact, this also depends on the type of market and type of business model, so i can't actually answer this.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
Every visible line and form should offer functional purpose next to the aesthetic value.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
The value can be a story, a USP, original technology or rare material. It can be many many things. I believe value should be created for the customer and / or user. If not, why do we further design in an already saturated market.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I would design beautiful and functional products for people that I know, and that will appreciate and utilize them.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
Dreams come and go, life evolves continuously. I don't have 1 dream project that I want to design or realize.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
Investigate the market and the existing solutions. Create a proper Business Plan.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
More high-quality luxurious tables and benches for indoor and outdoor usage.
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
Build a succesful Furniture Design Brand and teach others how to build a brand once my brand is succesful enough.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
The Papillon dining table and the Marcello dining table. Because of the challenge to design tables like that.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
The software and equipment that is available to me and my freelance engineers.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
The world is full of colors, I design with colors that act complementary. The materials play the biggest role in my designs.
What do you wish people to ask about your design?
Why did I design it in a certain way or or with certain materials.
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
At first I have a lot of admiration and respect for the designer. After that, possible markets and business models come into my mind.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I certainly believe in co-design. I like to cooperate with extreme talents. Extremely talented in technical architecture, construction engineering or on the other hand, people that are extremely creative and think extremely out of the box.
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
I am not famous at all but I appreciate all the awards and recognition I can get.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Blue, Italy, Italian, Spring, sharing food with loved ones and Porsche.
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
The slogan of my brand "Havani" is "Share a Lifetime", reflecting on durability and the life spent around the centerpiece at home (table). I was at Maison et Objet in January 2020, explaining why I think tables have something magical to it and I had one customer who was fighting in the Balkan war in 1992 and told me he understood me because he was the one always building tables with wood he found for his army colleagues.
Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
I love to have real conversations and I love to learn from others. When I'm the smartest man in the room, I believe I'm in the wrong room. Also, I always aim for win-win situations, keep all parties happy and aim for long-term relationships professionally and privately.

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