Sitting down with HAY's co-founder and Creative Director of HAY Accessories, Mette Hay, END. discuss the nuances of working from home, what items make her workspace special and the effects working from home can have on the way we work and communicate.
In an era of unprecedented restrictions on our freedom to travel and work, more and more people have been thrown head first into the world of working from home.
Initially, the thrill and freedom of home-working may seem like a blessing, but there are a number of pitfalls that can easily become apparent should you fail to adequately adjust to the allure of working in the comfort of your own home. Ensuring you can effectively switch into "work mode" is a process that is different for everyone, but can present challenges if you don't cultivate an effective workspace designed for both comfort and efficiency.
Accentuating our need for furniture, homeware and office accessories to ensure our workspaces are designed bespoke to our individual needs, HAY's no-nonsense approach offer a surfeit of ways in which we can make these workspaces comfortably our own during this period of self-isolation. Founded in 2002, HAY came from Mette and Rolf Hay's ambition to create a world of furniture and homeware that incorporated industrial manufacturing methods but created simple and elegant solutions to satisfy the requirements of contemporary living. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, the brand is inspired by a combination of fashion, art and architecture, offering an aesthetic that is functional yet brimming with personality and colourful charm.
Discussing the nuances of working from home, what items make her workspace special and the effects working from home can have on the way we work and communicate, END. sits down with HAY's co-founder and Creative Director of Accessories, Mette Hay.
We have never really designed products for a specific use or space, but instead for the fluidity and flexibility of everyday life today.
HAY’s design codes offer functionality and the charm of minimalism, easily allowing the brand’s items to seamlessly slip into most interior design styles. How would you define HAY’s approach to design?
At HAY, we always aim to make beautiful, well-designed products that are affordable and available to a lot of people with different styles and tastes. It is really important to us that we stay relevant and evolve and grow, so we are constantly seeking to be challenged and inspired by the world around us, particularly by art, architecture, and fashion. We have always paid close attention to our surroundings, and we try to keep our finger on the pulse of contemporary culture to keep up with the world around us.
In an unprecedented moment, a great number of people are now working from home for the first time and are looking to create a productive working space. What essential items would you include in your ideal home working area?
We have never really designed products for a specific use or space, but instead for the fluidity and flexibility of everyday life today. In our home, we have a home office, but not everybody has that extra space. If your only working tool is your computer or your phone, you can probably fit anywhere that’s comfortable! But when you work in a more creative way, you usually need a lot of stuff around you for inspiration. In our collection we have 2 beautiful small desks, the CPH line from the Bouroullecs and the Pyramid line from Friso Kramer, that can easily fit into a corner in your bedroom or living room. These are perfect for people with limited space, so they can create a little home-office, studio, or workshop environment around them.
I think it can teach us new ways of working and encourage us to get creative in the way we communicate.
How does working from home impact the way you work?
For many years, I have been used to working from many different environments. I often travel, so in some ways I have already integrated a more flexible working style into my life: it is not new for me. I use my phone and computer everywhere I go, and they are my most essential tools. But even though we have for many years used the digital realm to communicate with our internal team and supply team based all over the world, we have never communicated with customers this way. This is new to us, and I think it can teach us new ways of working and encourage us to get creative in the way we communicate. That said, I do believe that being together with people is where the best creativity and inspiration comes alive. I love spending time face to face with my coworkers and colleagues, sharing ideas and energy, looking at colours and shapes – that is the biggest joy for me.
What is the most important thing to consider when organising your workspace?
For me, a good “workspace” is actually just about making your home comfortable and inviting so you want to work there! For me, a workspace can be anywhere, so it can be just as nice to sit in your sofa, at the dining table, or in the office, just as long as you feel comfortable.
Do you find that you can easily switch between working at the office and working from home?
I am so fortunate to have a job that is also my hobby! Of course I also have meetings and tasks which can be challenging, but most of the things I do in my job are things that would have had my interest even if HAY was not a part of my life. Of course, I still believe that it is sometimes incredibly important to switch off your computer or your phone. We all sometimes need a little distance from these platforms in order to be fully present with our family and friends.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling to maintain a tidy Workspace?
I think tidiness is often linked to your job: if you are a person working in administration, you are used to having order and tidiness in your workspace. If you are working in a design process or a creative endeavor, then I think a little bit of creative chaos, samples, materials all over is important to ignite inspiration. For me personally, the desire for tidiness depends on what kind of mood I’m in: I sometimes clean up when I need my thoughts to be clean and fresh. And I collect a lot – so I need appealing, fresh storage options. I think our Colour Crates are a great way to do that, for example, and they come in different colours and sizes. So my advice is to have a lot of boxes around, so you can keep all the stuff you need on hand, but organize it and give it shape.
A workspace needs a special something to add a flourish of personality to it -what is one thing that your home workspace would not be complete without?
One item that has followed me for years is this mint-green calculator by Alessi. It was a present from my father, who always had it on his desk when I was growing up. It is so beautiful that now we are working with the guy behind this iconic design, George Sowden.