The tenets of Scandinavian design should, in theory, make designing your home a breeze — keep things simple, embrace beauty married to function and clean, simple aesthetics.
But here's the thing: For a U.S. consumer, that quest all too often begins and ends with IKEA. Sure, you can find imported accessories from Scandi brands in specialty boutiques. But you can't really shop their full lines, which tends to put a full stop on all of your grand hygge plans.
That's changing, thanks to some excellent news: HAY, the Danish home brand known for tapping talented designers to create high-quality goods at reasonable prices, has expanded to the U.S. with the launch of their first Stateside brick-and-mortar in Portland's Pearl District, which opened its doors November 15. (This is all thanks to their new partnership with Herman Miller, by the way.)
We've known for several months now that HAY had been plotting their U.S. store, and our first question was (perhaps selfishly; Hunker is based in L.A.), "Why Portland?"
According to Ali Moran, HAY's North American Director of Communications, the company has a tendency to steer toward the unexpected. "HAY has always chosen the least obvious," she told us. "In the U.K., for example, we launched in Bath."
Portland felt like a natural destination. "There are a lot of cultural similarities between Copenhagen and Portland," she explained. "There's a growing creative class, a lot of biking to work, and also the desire to stay on the couch." Meaning: Both populations embrace the whole hygge mindset.
The 3,400-square-foot space — an industrial building, built circa 1890, that was once a pottery factory — showcases HAY's full line, creating a maze of sections in the open space. The kitchen department has its own setup. Turn the corner and you're in the bathroom section. Walk in a little farther and an inviting living room setup framed by walls of colorful pillows will convince you to completely overhaul your home.
It's all a little too tempting — HAY seems to offer something for everyone. If you're looking for quality dining chairs, there are options that start at $95. For those ready to drop a bit of dough, streamlined wood dining tables start at around $1,000. Then there's HAY's best-selling category — kitchenware — which offers an array of enamel dishes; color-blocked coffee pots; thick, burgundy cutting boards; as well as fun accessories (glittery sponges, neon tea towels).
As for the company's next step, that's equally unexpected — a second store is opening in Costa Mesa, California, and they're doing it within less than a week from Portland's opening.
But the best part of HAY's integration with Herman Miller is their product is now available online to U.S. markets. (Although technically, not everything is up yet, but Moran says they're continuing to add items.)
All of this hopefully indicates an emerging trend and market for European goods — if, that is, retailers like HAY can figure out how to do it and keep prices low in the face of U.S. tariffs.
After all, accessibility is kind of the whole point.