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Hay Denmark has nothing to hide with its Woody Shelf Unit: simply soap-treated oak sticks, powder-coated steel and screws. But this is design at its best in terms of perfecting joint strength and form and providing an extremely stable structure. And don’t be fooled by the lightness of it all: oak is strong and ages beautifully. A free-standing piece that works against a wall or as a room divider, it operates on the M.O. that no shelf system should be too visually dominant in a room. The shelves lie freely on the wooden frame and each of the 3 color combination's underscores the unit's simple proportions.
This is 1 of 5 configurations in the Woody Collection.
“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.”