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This is a story of women, Amelia.
Or, better said, a story of couples, in which the man is flanked by a woman who’s out of the ordinary, who’s able to fly high, sometimes higher than everyone. Like you and your copilot Fred Noonan, and Mette Hay with his partner Rolf Hay: together you have written exciting chapters full of adventures.
We are talking about relevant intentions: yours, circumnavigating the world by plane; that of Mette Hay, the democratization of good design.
The first thing that you would wonder is, how do you pronounce Hay? You would definitely say Hey, because you're from the United States, but Rolf would answer that the Danes pronounce it Hej, and that his father goes even further: Hi.
And, by the way, did you know that, since 1929, the registration mark for all Danish aircrafts was OY?
Mette Hay was just 24 when she understood what made her happy and founded Hay with her husband.
That’s more or less the same age you had when, in 1920, you visited an airfield in Long Beach and had the chance to get on a biplane and fly around Los Angeles for ten minutes. That ride changed your life forever.
Your first flight was as a co-pilot, and after that you took the reins of the game.
Young age is the common denominator of your and Hay’s path: founded in 2002, Hay has your very same ambition to emerge. Ignoring limits and focusing only on concrete objectives - reaffirming the importance of Danish design, which has never faded but has surely become less accessibile, paying homage to the 1950s and 1960s tradition and ensuring high quality at a lower cost in an attempt to bring design to a wider audience.
Hay has an international spirit - just like you, who tried to travel around the world twice and completed the nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Based in Denmark, Hay manages to turn its international vision into reality by working with a number of young, curious and brave designers coming from every corner of the planet.
That’s how Palissade was created. Produced in Denmark, this outdoor furniture collection was designed by the French Bouroullec brothers. It highlights the Danes’ love for open-air activities - does this sound familiar to you, as well? - and celebrates internationality as a value. Its lines are elegant and essential, yet the collection is turbulence-resistant, just like airplanes.
What matters is to have fun, you used to say. That’s the very same spirit behind Hay’s Kitchen Market collection, developed by Mette together with the Danish chef Frederik Bille Brahe, joined by a passion for functional and timeless accessories. The two hand-selected the most fundamental accessories for today’s kitchen, gathering in one, eclectic collection a variety of products readily available from around the world. You can find glasses from Morocco, water pitchers from India, Japanese pop sponges. All products were skillfully repurposed for the collection.
You were a strong and determined woman, definitely over the top for your age. In 1935 you entered Purdue University as a technical consultant, serving as an example of a successful modern woman for the female students. And not only that: you fully customized your plane.
What does it mean to have clear ideas, if not that?
And it is your attention to technique and engineering that we see in the Can sofa, always signed by the Bouroullec brothers: an essential tubular frame and a rigid but customizable structure that’s perfect for those who know what they want, just like you.
You were obstinate and worked several jobs to pay for your flying lessons and buy your first airplane: it was a two-seat single-engined biplane called the Kinner Airster. You named it Canary because of its bright chromium yellow paint job. With it, you set the women's altitude record at 14,000 feet.
Canary reminds us of the Soft Edge chair by Iskos-Berlin, which stands out for its rounded line and pastel shade, like those of your plane. Lex Pott’s Pivot shelf, then, completes the circle - its helicoidal design seems inspired by an aircraft propeller.
You had stile, and you would have loved the installation designed for the exhibition at Palazzo Clerici - as the thousands of visitors who have visited it.
And you should have seen how beautiful the garden looked like on those warm, sunny days: from the living room windows you could hear people talking, and they looked happy and open to the world. Just as you were.
Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
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