The Hay home: Colour, play and the beauty in everyday

Think HAY furnitureand you think ice cream colours, playful and modern but inspired by the “glory” days of mid-20th century Scandinavian design. Today HAY flies the flag for modern Danish design. Based in Horsens, south of Aarhus in Denmark they are known for their collaborations which span design, architecture, fashion and more.

Started in 2002, the story of Rolf and Mette Hay, who first met in their twenties while working for Gubi, is really quite the love story, as told to It’s Nice That.

"Mette was the new starter, Rolf the experienced designer, and with time the pair began to date. In fact, the initial spark of the company grew from the spark Mette and Rolf held for one another.

As Mette began to head over to Rolf’s place in those first few months of dating, she spied an area where he’d been toying with his own designs, specifically just one table and chair.

He wanted to start his own company, but it’s difficult to tell people your dreams as many people don’t agree it’s a good idea,” Mette recalls today. “I believed a lot in him just from that table and chair, and there was so much energy when we met that I encouraged him, leading to the namesake brand."

The couple are most inspired by mid-century designers Ray and Charles Eames and certainly share a love of colour and play.

A colourful way of life

The “exuberant use of colour”, as described by Phaidon, the publisher of the HAY book, includes the use of pastels and the Memphis primary brights, that sit so well alongside more sombre, earthy tones and neons.

According to Mette Hay:

“We feel that it’s important for our colour palette to be in motion at all times. There are so many colours in the world, and they can be combined in a myriad of ways.”

Mett Hay tells Bolon she has always been fascinated by colour:

“My father had an office above the store my parents were running together – you could describe it as the equivalent to a small version of The Conran Shop – where he collected design objects.

One specific piece holds a special place in my heart: The iconic Castiglioni saddle, ‘Zanotta Sella’, which had a pink pole. I remember how unusual it was to see the colour pink on a ‘serious’ object like a bike saddle at the time, and it left a lasting impression on me.”

The Scandinavian palette of the Y2K era was muted, with forest greens and icy blues used alongside neutrals. So Hay was immediately different.

“Colours bring customers into a shop,” Mette says says in her book, “maybe they enter because they’re drawn to the colour of a tea towel and, not so seldom, end up ordering a sofa.”

Everyday beauty

Rolf is passionate about furniture, whereas Mette enjoys working with the everyday items - everything from umbrellas to storage crates - that make Hay so covetable and so talked about. She says:

“There’s a reason I enjoy working with everyday items so much, and that is because to me, it makes a difference when I surround myself with things that are beautiful.”

Here are a few new pieces from Hay to call in Spring with.

Hay Ceramic table

The HAY Ceramic Table pays homage to the designer's obsession with playful colour palettes. With the Ceramic Dining Table Muller Van Severen have created a striking table for any outside space.

The beautiful speckled appearance of the concrete base is somewhat unique and a nod to Brutalism with a sharp contrast in the brightly coloured top. The Ceramic table is very durable and offers a simple fun design. Perfect for your balcony or al-fresco dining area it can be paired with many Hay dining chairs.

Shop Hay ceramic table



Hay Rey 

Based on the original Rey Collection designed by Swiss designer Bruno Rey in 1971, HAY has teamed up with Dietiker to relaunch the Rey Barstool. Featuring Dietiker’s unique screwless wood-to-metal connection, the iconic barstool has an uncluttered silhouette with tall, angled legs that balance the distinctively rounded edges. Its simplicity, strength and solid construction give it a timeless quality that makes it suitable for using in a wide variety of domestic, public or corporate settings. Made in solid wood with a chrome footrest, it is available in two different heights, offered in the original colours, as well as new tones and upholstered seat options selected by HAY.

Shop Hay Rey

HAY Sofas - currently you can save 20% on Hay Mags Sofa, a customer favourite, but also a personal favourite of ours. 

Shop Hay mags sofa + save 20%


Further reading

The book: Woman Made by Jane Hall - celebrating women in design
Slow scroll: Mette and Rolf Hay in conversation with It's Nice That
Mette Hay on a design weekend in Copenhagen - where to go
Hay - the Playground of Possibilities, Sleek Magazine
Journal: Back to the 70s with Hay Rey
Journal: A design lovers guide to Denmark


Leave a comment (all fields required)

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Trade Discounts available
Email us or phone the shop on 01423 524 777

If you have a question
Email us or phone the shop on 01423 524 777