ALL POSTS Interviews POP-IN@Nordstrom

Meet the Hays | Pop-In@Nordstrom Welcomes Hay Mini Market


Image courtesy HAY

One of the most exciting things about Pop-In@Nordstrom welcoming HAY Mini Market–the capsule version of the beloved Danish design company with a cult following–is its North American rareness. Only once on this continent has the Mini Market been in full effect, in August at MoMA in New York City.

So with the Pop-In drastically increasing HAY awareness in the U.S. and Canada, now is a good time to get to know the Hays behind HAY.

That would be Rolf and Mette Hay, husband and wife designers. There they are, above. Read our Q&A below with Mette Hay, the particular Hay in charge of the Mini Market, as she talks about her philosophy of home decorating, preference for social co-working and which aspects of HAY are set in stone for all eternity.

Shop: Pop-In@Nordstrom Welcomes HAY Mini Market

The Thread: How do you describe what you do at HAY?

I founded HAY 13 years ago with my husband Rolf and our business partner Troels Holch Povlsen, and today I am responsible for the design and creative direction for HAY Accessories as well as the HAY Mini Market.

Could you please tell us what happens on a typical day in the HAY design studio?

There are usually many different things happening. I might be working on a new product or planning for our next event or fair. But I am most definitely together with other members of the HAY team. It is very seldom I am alone in my office.

Which qualities attracted you to the designers included in HAY Mini Market?

We like to work with functional products, a clever idea, an everyday object with a twist; all of the designers in the HAY Mini Market are great at creating these types of products.

How do you connect with the designers you include in HAY Mini Market or HAY in general? How does that process work?

Many of the designers we feature in the Mini Market we have known for a long time, for instance Clara von Zweigbergk and Shane Schneck are some of the first designers I worked with when we started to develop HAY Accessories, as were Scholten & Baijings and since then we have gone on to make many different products together. We also have a strong internal design team which I have worked with for many years.

Why did you choose MoMA in New York for the first American HAY Mini Market? Why did you choose Nordstrom for the second?

Emmanuel [Plat], the director of the MoMA design store, contacted us not long after the first Mini Market at the Salon del Mobile in Milan, which is where the whole concept of the Mini Market originated. We were humbled and honored to hear from Emmanuel and to have the first Mini Market with MoMA, one of the most important cultural institutions in the world. Likewise we were very excited to hear from Nordstrom. We were definitely fans of the Pop-In and felt Nordstrom would be the best fit.

Do you think there is a different kind of appreciation for design in Denmark versus other countries?

Denmark is definitely a design-oriented country. We grow up knowing who Arne Jacobsen is.

Where is the last non-Danish country where you saw design which inspired you?

I was recently visiting Seoul, Korea, for a few days and while I didn’t have much time, I kept finding things I wanted to take home and designers I wanted to work with. I know it is a place I will definitely come back to.

Is social media important to you as you learn more about new designers? Is there any recent account that you’d recommend following?

I cannot say there is one particular account I have recently followed. But that said, I definitely use it all the time and I actually found two new products which we will launch in Milan in April via Instagram.

Which products are important to coordinate so your house has a coherent theme running throughout?

I truly believe what makes a home are the small details that are specific to the person or people living there. If you choose the items and pieces in your home which you truly love, a theme will develop organically around the things you are excited and passionate about. A home should not be too coordinated.

In what way is HAY a partnership between Mette and Rolf Hay? How specifically do you work together?

Well, Rolf is working with the furniture and I am working with the accessories, but nevertheless we live together and our offices are right next door so there isn’t a whole lot that we are not aware of in each other’s work. Many times Rolf will ask my opinion about a chair or a color and I will also do the same. But above all I always follow my instinct, even if Rolf isn’t as excited for a new product as I am. And he is very much the same.

How is HAY different now from ten years ago?

In the last 10 years HAY has evolved a lot. It is important for us as people and for HAY that we are not doing the same thing as last year. We like to keep moving and we try not to be afraid to take risks.

Which aspects of HAY are unchanging?

HAY is always playful, thoughtful and accessible.