STUDIO VISIT

Hay

Inspired by vintage interior design and the innovation of Danish furniture, HAY operates in the field between architecture and fashion. With an aesthetic that is proudly Scandinavian, the brand produces simple, straight forward and functional homeware.

Co-Founded by Mette and Rolf Hay, we spoke to the husband and wife duo about the unique HAY House concept, their inspiration, and what the future holds for HAY.

For people who aren’t familiar with HAY, please introduce the brand in your own words...

Rolf: At HAY, we work with some of the best international designers of our generation to make good-quality, well-designed furniture, lighting, and accessories. We strive to make these products affordable, so they can reach a much larger audience. We do this because we believe everyone has the right to good design: if more people buy quality furniture, the need to replace and throw away decreases.

What was the initial thought process behind the brand?

Mette: When Rolf and I started HAY in 2002, we both shared a passion for design, but most of the products we loved were not affordable. That’s been one of the main motivations for us from the start: to make beautiful things that are accessible to all kinds of people at every age and stage of life.

R: The idea was to do something new; making products that combine high quality with good design and accessibility. To bring something fresh to the table, we always had a very diverse range of references. If you imagine a triangle where three points represent Art, Architecture, and Fashion, I think HAY sits at the intersection of all three, taking inspiration from each. We look for designers who are cutting edge, both technologically and industrially.

Who do you look to for design inspiration?

M: For me I find a lot of inspiration during my travels - in Japan and India, but also through going to flea markets and factories, seeing my friends, going to art galleries and exhibitions, the fashion industry. Many things inspire me.

What do you enjoy the most about your day-to-day at Hay?

R: Working with talented people within the company as well as with external designers, who inspire and push me and give me new and fresh ideas. I also enjoy every different project we do. At Hay no project is the same, each project feels like an exciting new challenge.

Instead creating a more conventional, sterile showroom for our products, we have transformed the space into a relaxed, comfortable environment that feels like a real home.

What do you enjoy the most about your day-to-day at Hay?

R: Working with talented people within the company as well as with external designers, who inspire and push me and give me new and fresh ideas. I also enjoy every different project we do. At Hay no project is the same, each project feels like an exciting new challenge.

The HAY house is a great concept, talk us through the inspiration behind it…

M: We opened HAY House in 2008, and it’s our biggest store. It occupies the second and third floors of a beautiful building in the historic centre of Copenhagen, and that has given us a lot of exciting opportunities. First of all, instead creating a more conventional, sterile showroom for our products, we have transformed the space into a relaxed, comfortable environment that feels like a real home. We want people to enjoy and experience our products in a space where they can feel what it’s actually like to live with them, and hopefully to find some inspiration for their own living spaces! Because it’s not ground level, this also increases the homey feeling of being in an actual apartment, while offering incredible views of the city.

Design-wise, do you have any future projects planned that veer from your current aesthetic?

M: I think we always strive to keep our designs fresh and exciting, and not to stay too much in one specific aesthetic or style. We have lots of new projects coming up for the Spring and Fall, and we are also doing the Milan Furniture Fair in 2020, where we are presenting many new projects that we are going to launch.

What’s next for HAY?

M: Milan 2020 is really our main focus right now, and we are in the middle of planning an enormous, exciting exhibition where we can display our new launch products. 

Milan is not only a fair to us, it also an amazing way to freeze-frame our entire universe at that specific moment in time and to show the world where exactly we are. Milan gives us the opportunity to paint a living, breathing picture of the brand as it exists right then, so it keeps us fresh and on our toes.