Herman Miller + HAY

A look inside the Danish design brand’s partnership with Herman Miller Group


Written by: Amanda Koellner

Video and Photography by: Klaus Langelund

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Company

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Design Q & A Rolf and Mette Hay

Amy Auscherman, Herman Miller’s Head of Archives and Brand Heritage, and HAY founders Rolf and Mette Hay sit on black chairs around a table at the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen.

On a rainy day in Copenhagen, Amy Auscherman, Herman Miller's Head of Archives and Brand Heritage and co-editor of Herman Miller: A Way of Living, met HAY founders Rolf and Mette Hay for a conversation at the Statens Museum for Kunst and a stroll through the couple’s flagship store, HAY House.

The three have much in common: a deep knowledge of all things design, an affinity for the mid-century modern greats, and a central place within Herman Miller Group’s family of brands. When Herman Miller acquired a majority stake in Rolf and Mette’s company in 2019, opportunity abounded for both businesses. Herman Miller helped HAY cross the pond,  establishing a presence in North America, and HAY brought a youthful vibrance and taste of Scandinavia to Herman Miller Group’s offering.

An up-close shot of the HAY House logo in Copenhagen.
Rolf and Mette Hay are seen in their flagship store, HAY House, through a red shelf dotted with accessories.

For Rolf and Mette, lifelong fans of Herman Miller, joining the family also meant realizing a dream they could’ve never predicted when they founded their Danish design company back in 2002. “I remember we were in front of our employees after the announcement of the partnership with Herman Miller, and I told them all that we had very good reason for being extremely proud about what we have achieved together the last 18 years,” Rolf says.

HAY’s model of collaborating with some of the world’s leading designers for its product line fittingly mirrors Herman Miller’s history of authentic, authored design. As Auscherman and the Hays affirm in their conversation, the similarities between the companies abound.

A river on a rainy day in Copenhagen, with buildings on the right and a road on the left.
A black and white photograph of Mette Hay, shown from the side, and the back of Amy Auscherman at HAY House in Copenhagen.
Amy Auscherman and Rolf and Mette Hay are show in conversation at HAY House, the brand’s flagship store in Copenhagen.

Although the two brands—one based in West Michigan the other in Denmark—can feel a world apart, the relationship has flourished since the initial spark. “It takes about 15 hours, especially if you go to Amsterdam and then to Detroit, to get to Grand Rapids; it’s a long journey,” Rolf says. “But it’s not really a problem because we connected immediately, and we’re very aligned in the way we think.”

As Mette told Auscherman in the SMK café, “This is just the beginning of a long-time relationship.”

A Mags Sectional With Chase in grey by HAY sits in a room with artwork, bookshelves, and a HAY Tulou Coffee Table in green.

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