Portrait by Osma Harvilahti


HAY was founded in 2002, aiming to create durable quality furniture at affordable prices to allow as many people as possible to enjoy excellent design.
Today, HAY is a global corporation that employs hundreds of people in countries around the world: an inclusive brand that believes that contemporary design should spring from a good idea, innovative technology and quality materials in combination with joyful, straightforward and uncomplicated aesthetics. We had a little chat with Rolf, CEO and founder of HAY.


What is inside HAY’s DNA? What to you see when you think about Hay?

Our DNA is really about three elements:
Design, as a well-designed product has to add something. It should apply to as many people as possible and it is always all about the product.
Quality, we want our products to be sustainable so we work for a long time on finding the right materials and construction.
And finally, making sure there is a good relation between quality and price.

You were born and raised in Denmark. How do you think Danish culture influences you the most in your own vision of the furniture?

Denmark and Danish culture is a part of my everyday. We grew up with design traditions and there has always been a lot of focus on materials, simplicity and everyday life and this of course has been a big part of HAY.


How did you started HAY? What was the purpose behind it?

HAY was founded in 2002 to create contemporary furniture for living using sophisticated industrial manufacturing; it was our mission to bring the innovation and greatness of mid-century Danish design into the 21st century. Through our commitment to the design and production of furniture and accessories we strive to make good design accessible to the largest possible audience.

With Mini Markets you managed to make small projects go big. How was it conceived and what goals do you think it had achieved?

HAY Mini Market was a concept developed by Mette Hay, creative director of HAY accessories and HAY co-founder and also my wife. The Mini Market was established at Milan design week in 2014 and has been a great success since and has really pushed our product design to many new exciting places.


How do you get involved with designers you work with?

Often we like to work with designers we have a strong connection with or with whom we admire. Designers like Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec and Stefan Diez we admired before we started working together. But for us it has always been about the products and making a great product: we are not interested in where designers come from, we are interested in what they create.

What do you think about Mutina?

Mutina is at a whole new level of intelligent design in their way of working with tiles. Also through their collaborations with several designers in the furniture and design fields they create a stronger connection and link to design and architecture.

How was your experience using Mutina in your wonderful installation during Milano Design Week? What aspect do you like the most in Rombini collection?

The Milan experience was great! We were working with a concept that had almost ten different environments. The room featuring the Mutina tile was definitely one of the strongest and most interesting rooms we created.