While we had to keep to ourselves and the sun was shining in 2020, a group of designers were busy making new things for HAY. These projects began in a time when we all had more time to appreciate the simple comforts of a good home. Now as the products are released we hope you can add these colourful creations to your space and share with friends and family.
In this Journal post we are reviewing our pick of the latest creations to join our leading design brand HAY this month. It's no accident that last year was a successful one for HAY, they have always had a very domestic outlook to design, with most products initially envisaged within a home rather than a hotel, restaurant or office. Their product line-up contains just as many whimsical items as practical, with designs that blur the boundaries between function and art. Handmade manufacturing and almost infinite colour variations for some products, means that although increasingly popular, HAY products can be a large part of a genuinely unique home.
This year HAY have partnered with leading designers to create new additions which will really delight those who are colour confident. And if you're not, perhaps this is your breakthrough moment to bring some flamboyance into your abode!
We'll get going by looking at new designs from Muller Van Severen. Founded in 2011 by Belgian artist duo Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen, they have always been on an inspired quest to fashion sculpturally interesting furniture and lighting objects, drawing on their passion for architecture and materials. A shared love of colour and material is often the inspiration behind many of Muller Van Severen’s designs. The designer duo is constantly seeking new ways to present the natural beauty of the materials they use.
From working together with HAY, Muller Van Severen have looked at different materials and techniques to make their signature style more accessible with affordable price points. An excellent example of this is the Two-Colour Table range (above) made with a Valchromat tabletop. Often used as wall paneling or kitchen cupboard fascias, Valchromat is a MDF style board material with some important differences. Like MDF, Valchromat is made from recycled softwood, but that's where the similarities end.
Valchromat uses a non-toxic resin to bond itself together and is 30% stronger than MDF as a result. This resin is environmentally friendly (unlike the formaldehyde based glue used with MDF) and also water resistant. Instead of applying a surface finish with MDF, Valchromat is coloured throughout with organic dyes. This means that if you were to dent or chip the surface, it wouldn’t show up very much. It all makes the surface a perfect material to construct a tabletop from! At 30mm thick the tabletop feels really substantial, and it's paired with 30mm profile square legs in a complementary colour pairing only Muller Van Severen would choose.
Focusing on simple, elemental shapes and the intensity of colour in an object, Arcs is a series of lighting designs, candleholders and vases formed from a continuous chain of curved arches. A single element is formed from folded steel, using spatial volume to create a scalloped silhouette. Arcs is made from steel and comes in a choice of vibrant colours or with a mirror surface that reflects and magnifies the natural light.
The different Arcs lighting variants and mounting solutions give the lamps a versatile quality that makes it easy to integrate in most interior spaces. The wall version comes either with a cord switch or a hidden wire system, both would be ideal for indirect bedside lighting or perhaps in a hallway entrance. The table lamp is eye-catching at 30 cm high and its influence spreads across the room with the beautiful play of light and shadow forged from the ornamental curved edges.
With the Arcs Vase and Candle Holders, an internal plate of steel is placed out of sight to form a platform to hold flower stems or candles and the open base creates a feeling of lightness wherever they are placed. The vases and candle holders work so well together and it's easy to create your own unique composition.
Having previously worked with HAY to create the Dapper and Uchiwa Lounge chairs, design duo Doshi Levien were the ideal partner to develop the new Quilton sofa series for the brand. The popularity of the modular Mags Soft Sofa has been without equal for the past few years, but for some it may be a tad too minimal. For those who prefer a little more detail in their furniture there was the opportunity to create something as practical as Mags, but with artistic details akin to high-end Italian counterparts.
Doshi Levien are based in London, with a studio in Columbia Road and a home in the inspirational Barbican residential complex (where many of the product photos have been taken). Perhaps the pick-hammered concrete, which features throughout Barbican, was an unconscious influence on the design of the Quilton: The proportions are very similar to the Mags Soft but it's almost as if someone has skilfully taken a tool to the sofa surface and crafted a new seating terrain.
Quilton is a multi-functional sofa with the flexibility of a modular system and if you would like it - a standalone 3-Seater option is also available. Aptly described by the two designers as a "quilted landscape sofa system", Quilton combines Nipa Doshi’s inherent visual understanding and Jonathan Levien’s industrial precision to create a central platform for living, working, socialising and relaxing. Generous dimensions and sculpted forms characterise the design, with the softness and volume of the foam and wadding seats, creating exceptional comfort and the wide assortment of modules offering greater versatility. Quilton’s numerous upholstery choices and infinite seating scenarios make it suitable for a wide range of spaces. Personally we think the sofa works beautifully with Doshi Levien's own fabric design 'Raas' for Kvadrat. We will be displaying the sofa in Rass 982 / Combination 10 when it arrives into our showroom at the end of October 2021.
Moving across the globe by 9000 km we now head to Japan. Here designer Jin Kuramoto has created Knit - a simple and iconic coat rack with a distinctive sculptural design. Comprising three powder lacquered steel pipes that are interconnected in a three-dimensional way, the pipes are securely ‘knitted’ together (with a hidden bolt) to support each other and create the strength of the body. Inspired by the tactile experience of touching materials and the experimental processes of bending and knitting ropes and metal rods, Knit was developed as an extension of HAY’s wardrobe and garment hanging options in a flat-packed design that is easy to assemble. Featuring a high gloss finish that creates a lustrous effect, Knit can be used to add functionality and visual interest to hallways, bedrooms and anywhere else you lay your hat.
The glass coffee table has been a household essential since the Victorian era, with contemporary designs like the 1940's Vitra Isamu Noguchi design an easily recognisable classic. Toughened glass is of course the ideal tabletop material, coffee tables can be quite large and as they sit in the centre of the room, it is easy for them to dominate. Well made, minimal coffee tables that make a statement with colours and material rather than with a distinct silhouette, are always in short supply. HAY partnered with Norwegian designer Martin Solem for this product category well due an update.
The result was Kofi - A range of elegant and versatile glass-topped coffee tables. Based on the desire to manufacture a clean and functional table with eco-friendly credentials, the Kofi series is developed using clever and efficient production methods. The clean simplicity of the dimensions and proportions is highlighted by the close attention to detail, resulting in uncluttered aesthetics with distinct lines and a timeless quality. Featuring a solid oak or walnut frame in FSC-certified wood with a water-based lacquer, the top is made of plain or reeded toughened glass, which has a distinctively ribbed structure. The table comes in many different sizes, different colour frame options and glass in clear or coloured variants. The sheer number of design combinations makes Kofi suitable for a wide variety of home settings, from living rooms to halls and receptions. Kofi is smartly flat-packed in two boxes with a pre-assembled wooden frame, the glass top that sits on rubber feet and four dowel legs that simply screw into the frame.