IKEA's New Collaboration Proves Timeless Design Doesn't Have to Be Expensive
It was a lengthy three-year process between Mette and Rolf Hay's first meeting with the IKEA team and the launch of Ypperlig, their collaborative collection. The partnership, landing in stores in October, was a natural progression for the Danish design duo, who founded Hay in 2002 as a destination for affordable contemporary furniture and accessories. After all, both companies shared the common goal of providing well-designed home essentials that were both affordable and thoughtfully created, from the initial drafting stage all the way to final production.
It wasn't the first collaboration for Hay, which recently launched Chart, an art poster collection in collaboration with 12 artists, and Hay Kitchen Market, a cooking essentials line created in collaboration with Frederik Bille Brahe, a prominent Copenhagen chef. "What's really important for us at the moment is that we're working on collaborations," Rolf Hay told MyDomaine. "It's something we like. It's very inspiring for us. We love bringing people into our industry who aren't normally in the industry. It's exciting when you get to work with people on a very high level, we feel very privileged about that." Hay's main goal with his collaboration: to create products that can be cherished for multiple decades to come. In fact, it's the main trend the Hay co-founders are forecasting for 2018: the idea of environmental consciousness and long-lasting products. Find out how this design couple turned an IKEA collaboration into a collection of wallet-friendly future heirlooms.
"We met in Copenhagen. IKEA had a management meeting in Copenhagen and called us in to have a chat about everything and nothing," says Rolf. "We had a wonderful conversation with the team for two to three hours. It was very general about our industry, about how we were looking at IKEA and how IKEA was looking at Hay." Three years later, a collaboration was born. "From our side, it was pretty clear that we wanted to do something for IKEA, and we wanted to approach IKEA, not the other way around. We wanted to meet IKEA where IKEA is, and that was the starting point for the collaboration."
While Mette Hay focused on the smaller accessories and accessories of the collection—napkins, shopping bag, trays, cushions—Rolf narrowed down on the furniture development, working with the IKEA supply chain to create products that were both innovative and timeless: "Many of the products in the collection were guided by the new technologies and the way of approaching product at a very high and intelligent production level. When creating the furniture collection, it was a lot about traveling with IKEA and see the different IKEA factories and different ways of producing."
One of the star products for the collection: a simple plastic chair shaped out of one single piece of molded plastic: "It looks simple, but to prepare the production for this chair was quite complicated," shares Rolf. "I think we learned a lot about production. The reason we did this was we were curious about how IKEA works, and it was interesting to share the [retailer's] environment. The IKEA team is extremely good at sharing its expectations with its suppliers—to give its suppliers precise information on what the project is about and what's expected. The team is very professional, so it's clear from the beginning."
At the core of the collection was one main focus—a trend that both Mette and Rolf Hay firmly believe is the only important decorating trend to follow moving forward: the idea of quality and timelessness. "I think that people today really know what they want, and people are extremely informed," says Mette. "People know what's going on all over the world. If there is a new place in the world, it's easy to get the information on social media. I think that people will more easily curate things from many different areas." After all, she redesigned IKEA's most iconic product, the famous blue-and-white shopping bag, to incorporate new color combinations that were more in line with timeless tones—muted yellows, reds, blues, and greens that would stand the test of time.
"What we see at the moment is that people are extremely concerned about the environment," says Rolf. "I think the trend now is that people buy better products that last longer. They're more concerned with the quality of what they're buying. They want to buy something that can last for many years. It's not just about buying convenient goods, it's about considering what they need, and then buying based on that. When you work with IKEA, it’s a company that has a high level of environmental consciousness. [The team is] extremely concerned with the materials [it's] using. What's really important is that we use long-lasting materials. It's something we have to consider—that we return to the old values where artisans were spending hours and hours on making a chair or an object. Because if it's perfect, it will be in our lives for many years. We should take objects and products extremely importantly also from an aesthetic point of view. Why don't we do products with a 50-year lifetime?"
Have a look at the new Hay Ypperlig collection for IKEA, and pick the products that will be in your life for many years.
Shop the collection here.