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Co-founder and Creative Director duo Mette & Rolf Hay
Established in Denmark in 2002 HAY was looking for new and innovative ways to answer the changing needs of the modern world. Committed to the idea that great design is everyone’s right Co-founders and Creative Directors Mette and Rolf Hay set out to “create contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories for modern living with some of the world’s most talented, curious and courageous designers” states Mette, but there was one crucial difference – the price point must be more accessible than industry standards.
At its heart HAY has always strived to make good design accessible to the widest possible audience and our mission remains unchanged today.
It is this philosophy that sets HAY apart from other design brands, it is an attitude that makes HAY feel particularly inviting and the products, well, they speak for themselves.
HAY’s design philosophy extends to the creation of products for the ever-evolving needs of everyday life. Evolution is often subtle and barely noticeable, but these last few years have brought about many changes in the way we use our living spaces.
When we started HAY 20 years ago, we wanted to bridge the gap between home and work in the sense that we wanted to create products that would work in both environments. This was part of what HAY has been from the beginning, and with people working from home more than ever, it is even more relevant today” says Mette.
This sentiment becomes crystal clear when we take a deeper look at HAY’s assortment. The products are eclectic and varied, from the bright coloured crates for storing your important documents to the French press for your morning coffee. From sofas to waste-paper bins, there are no products that are off limit to the re-imagination of the HAY designers.
Mette is responsible for overseeing the company’s accessory collection. One of the first accessories that the company produced was the Kaleido Tray in collaboration with the Swedish designer Clara von Zweigbergk she says.
[The Kaleido Tray] was a product that had it all: the HAY DNA. It is colourful, playful, beautiful and useful.
“The tray’s versatility means it can be used as a tray for jewellery, desktop items, or simply a decorative item.” Says Mette. “Today, the Kaleido Tray remains equally as popular as it was when it was released, and we are glad to have recently released it in a series of new colours. We believe a good design stands the test of time and the Kaleido Tray has done just that” She continues. We can see this approach to long standing design across much of HAY’s assortment, the collections feel like a modern homage to the great design eras.
HAY boasts a collective of some of the world’s leading designers, drawing inspiration from art, architecture and fashion to create their unique collections.
We don’t have a blueprint for what our design process at HAY looks like, and we like to keep it this way, so our collections can evolve organically, says Mette.
Colour has become emblematic for HAY, but it is certainly not ubiquitous across the whole assortment. “When working on a collection we apply colour carefully – each product is considered its own and given its colour specifically” Mette states.
“In some case things might start with a meeting, sometimes with a brief, and sometimes by a fortunate chance encounter…” she continues. HAY’s philosophy is based on the premise of creating products that their customers are most in need of but are equally original and certainly beautiful. This organic design process allows them the freedom to do just this.
HAY isn’t always about bright colours, the please neutral shades of the Crinkle throw, Outline cushion and the Pao Portable table lamp create a calming scene.
The HAY assortment is a kaleidoscope of colour, playful shapes and differing textures. There is a tactile element to HAY’s designs, the products are inviting, encouraging the admirer to pick them up, turn them over and experience every aspect. There is a certain openness about placing items in your home that beg to be picked up and played with but what does a welcome home mean to HAY?
“So many factors contribute to what makes a welcoming home, but what is key is personality. Naturally, colour in a home is very important to me. I think when you can see how people have gathered and added a variety of objects and furniture in their space over time, this is what makes a house a home.” Says Mette.
So, colour can make a house feel more welcoming but typically, Scandinavian interior design does not scream colour. Times are changing however, and this spring has been all about pastels for example. HAY is certainly one of the most colourful and playful Scandinavian design brands out there. Mette has some advice for us when it comes to injecting a little more colour into our lives:
I’d always say: Simply choose what you like. Personality is what adds colour.
Complimenting pastel shades and perfectly playful shapes are synonymous with HAY.
Products for everyday – HAY reimagines everyday items like the Kaleido tray or the Italian Ice Cup dessert bowl for a welcoming retro impression.
From the twisting colours of their glass spoons to contrasting edges of their Contour napkins HAY loves to play with colour.
HAY’s approach to design is unique. From the carefully curated colour scale to the everyday items that inspire them. Their design philosophy can be felt through the entire assortment but what is apparent above all else is the passion and connection they have with the objects they design. It is this passion for design and innovation that is the key to HAY’s world.
Text: Rebecca Sparling
Photography: Angeliqa Daldorph, HAY
Styling: Linnéa Axelson & Angeliqa Daldorph