After having worked for a number of furniture companies, Hay started working for Danish Paustian in the 1990s, and for Gubi, where he met his wife Mette Hay. During a project for clothing company, he met Troels Holch Povlsen, who shared the dream of starting a furniture company that Rolf and Mette had been fostering together. Mutual enthusiasm and values led the three of them to define a mission statement in which they committed to collaborate with the best international designers of their own generation to produce high-quality designs that would be accessible to the widest possible audience.
Based upon this ambition, they established Hay in September of 2002. Over the years, their successful partnership would create a universe of everyday objects across the categories of accessories, furniture, and lighting, continuously expanding in range and scope. In 2018, a new collaboration led US-based designer and furniture manufacturer Herman Miller Inc., now MillerKnoll, to acquire a third of Hay, along with the rights to distribute Hay’s designs in North America.
Today, Rolf Hay continues his role as both founder and creative director of Hay furniture and lighting, working closely with Mette in all aspects of design, production, and development across the brand.