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When Wrong makes it right

By Matt Hodges ( Shanghai Star ) Updated: 2014-10-11 17:31:07

When Wrong makes it right

Wrong for Hay products are slowly taking over Hays Taikang Road showroom. Gao Rrqiang / Shanghai Star

A new collaboration between a London designer and a Scandinavian furniture brand is creating fun, innovative items for the home that are proving popular in Shanghai. Matt Hodges reports.

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When it comes to functional, minimalist, trendy furniture for the home and office, there is life beyond IKEA.

But is the new collaboration between established London designer Sebastian Wrong and popular Danish design brand HAY worth the mark-up?

"We have a strong story behind every product, which is not the case with IKEA," says Wrong, 42, the creative director of Wrong for Hay.

"What we're offering here is great design and affordable prices, from industrial design to playful stuff for the individual. We're leading, not following, both in what we do and who we work with."

"We are redefining the middle market. I don't know what that means in a Chinese context, but I know what it means in a British context," he says. "Before, you had characterless design."

He adds that his "understated but good-quality" products have become the new darlings of UK consumers who would, in previous years, more likely have opened their wallets at stores like Habitat.

HAY's first concept store in China opened amid a cluster of like-minded shops on the south side of bohemian Tianzifang earlier this year. It started adding Wrong for Hay products last month.

Slowly its products are starting to colonize the store's shelf and floor space, from blue canvas sofas to paper lantern-shaped lights, revolving stools and big cushions with funky patterns and loud colors.

"We're going to keep the collection here for a while," says Kim Bukbjerg Fiedler, director of HAY's Asia-Pacific operations. "Our collection is already so big that we constantly rotate our products from the warehouse."

HAY was founded by Troels Holch Povlsen, the man who launched Bestseller, and Rolf Hay in about 2002. Rolf and his partner Mette, who joined the company a year later, met Wrong a few years ago in Copenhagen through a common business partner and launched Wrong for Hay in 2013. It started with a discussion about a lighting collection and grew organically from there.

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