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Grid, cube, fade. What tower block will you write your life on? These graphic stacks of note paper are part of the desk accessory collection by Hay Denmark.
“One of the most important things for our company is to make footprints of our own time,” says Rolf Hay, of his eponymous Copenhagen-based company launched in 2003 at the international furniture fair IMM Cologne. His idea was to bring Danish design to a new creative peak that rivaled the storied 1950s and 1960s—but with a modern update. As creative director, he’s committed to nurturing young upstarts and also “exploring the twisted minds of established designers” and giving both a platform.
In practice, that means seeking out imaginative products and evaluating them on their own merits rather than first commissioning a design for certain type of item. And he says his greatest thrill is seeing a prototype for the first time. “We work in a different way to the way our parents did, but we basically live in the same way,” Rolf says. “The news is that there is nothing new, except the possibilities. And that’s great fun.”
SCHOLTEN & BAIJINGS
“Stefan is really good at the big picture. I’m good at the details,” says Carole Baijings of her design partnership with Stefan Scholten, which grew out of the Dutch couple’s relationship. Though she is self-educated and Stefan studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven, “as our lives came together, working together was a natural progression, ” Carole says.
Now, more than 10 years later, Scholten & Baijings’ light-filled studio overlooks Amsterdam’s harbor and their work, with its unusual color choices and layered gradations of tone, is instantly recognizable. Collaborating with a who’s who of illustrious contemporary brands worldwide, from Hay in Denmark to Karimoku New Standard in Japan, their product range includes textiles, glass and furniture. “We work more like artists,” Carole says. “We start with materials and colors and then try to create a shape or a design. It’s a different approach than starting with a word or a concept or an idea.”