One of the great frustrations with modern furniture, lighting, and accessories is that much of it is simply out of reach price-wise. The Danish brand HAY, established in 2002, offers up vivid, eye-catching products, has an international cult following, and is on a mission to make the work of top-flight contemporary designers more accessible. But large-scale distribution in the United States has eluded the company, save for a handful of savvy boutiques. That’s all changing with the HAY Mini Market, which is open through the holiday season at the MoMA Design Store in SoHo.
“Our vision was to work with the best designers in the world and to make products at a high-quality level, but at more affordable price levels than the market had at the time,” says Mette Hay, the brand’s co-founder along with Troels Holch Povlsen.
HAY has two sides of its business: large-scale furniture—made by the likes of Doshi Levien, the Bouroullecs, and Anderssen & Voll—and accessories that are quick to market and follow a product map more like fashion. The mini market features the latter–think easy-to-pick-up items like notebooks, tea towels, desktop organizers, and decorative objects. Most of the 200+ products fall in the $12–$25 range.
“The product needs to be something you can use, it needs to be original, and it needs to excite me,” Hay says of the items her brand manufactures. “It’s important for me that when I work with designers, there is a common passion and understanding.”
A sampling of the products can be found in the slideshow above and on momastore.org. The online shop has only a fraction of the items since they’re mostly small and the shop encourages browsing, discovery, and impulse buys.
Eleven years ago, MoMA introduced Muji to the United States market with a pop-up shop and it has since become an in-demand destination for design-savvy shoppers. While both are based on the promise of good products at an affordable price, Muji is more nondescript, while HAY is very bold and fashion-forward. Will HAY similarly capture the hearts of buyers?