The Interview: Rolf Hay


As the long-awaited Ikea x Hay Ypperlig collection hits stores, we caught up with Rolf Hay, who comprises half of Hay, alongside his wife and business partner Mette.

Why have you decided to work with Ikea?
The main reason we decided to work with Ikea was curiosity. The second reason was our chemistry, which I felt in our first meeting as their culture was very open, transparent and not afraid of sharing. Initially, Ikea asked for a casual meeting and we met in one of our stores outside of opening hours. At that moment in time we were not talking about a collaboration, just the industry and our design perspectives. 

What synergies did you see between Hay and Ikea?
I think both companies have a big passion for production, understanding products and the people who are buying them. 


Why is the collection called "The Beauty of Basics"?
By combining materials, colours and production techniques, Ypperlig is a collection of basics adapted to modern needs and wants. A contemporary yet ageless collection – just like the pieces themselves. 

Was the process totally different to when you're working on Hay?
Yes, the process is totally different. There are a lot more people involved in design and development. At Ikea, the most important decisions are made on the floor in a tight collaboration with the producers and designers. The company is driven by production, so the input from the factories is extremely important. Often products are defined by the technology therefore the knowledge from the factory is extremely important if you want to succeed with a product at Ikea.

What do you expect will be the most popular? 
That is hard to say, but the bag has already had a lot of attention.


What was in your comfort zone and what was outside of it? 
If you want to do something great and achieve something interesting, you have to get out of the comfort zone. So everything we did was outside of our comfort zone. We looked at things from a different angle and looked at the possibilities with a fresh perspective.

What pieces will you incorporate in to your own home?
I am looking forward to having the monoblock plastic chair on the terrace.

YPPERLIG mono block plastic chair.jpg

What was your aim for this chair?
The monoblock plastic chair was one of the first items we wanted to do with Ikea. It is one of the most efficient ways to produce a chair today, but it also takes a lot of time and knowledge to develop something as complex as a monoblock plastic chair.

What does democratic design mean to you? 
Democratic design is linked to large scale production and for me, it is about giving a lot of people access to a great product. 

INTERVIEW Amanda Kavanagh