Rolf and Mette Hay, co-founders of HAY, channel the creative force of Charles and Ray Eames on a visit to Los Angeles to immerse themselves into the Eames universe.
Story by: Kelsey Keith
Photography by: Jake Stangel for Herman Miller,
courtesy of Eames Foundation
“I see that the Hays share with the Eameses a real willingness to embrace any logistical, material and systems challenges as an essential part of the design process.”—Eames Demetrios
That 1997 Vitra exhibition—which predated the point when he and Mette decided to strike out in their own with a company that would bring Danish design into the present day—pushed Rolf to start thinking in an Eamesian spirit. Mette confirms: “Charles and Ray Eames have been our biggest inspiration, especially in the way they used colors and were very experimental with their process. And they were having fun! Many furniture companies in Denmark are talking about how many hours it took to craft a chair. At HAY we’re about innovation.”
Acknowledging the Hays’ kinship with his grandparents, Eames says, “There are a number of connections: The first is a great joy and delight in color and its potential to be an integral part of a design. The second, is, naturally, their compelling journey as a married couple with a unified design voice. Then, I think you have to think about the entrepreneurial aspect of both couples—which is not as widely recognized in the Eameses.”
Lucia Atwood, one of five Eames grandchildren and director of Eames Foundation—the entity stewarding the Eames House and its ongoing preservation—pictured with Rolf and Mette Hay on their first visit to the house.