As design practitioners, we have always admired Artek, the legendary Finnish brand that has been setting a standard for modern design since the 1930s. Artek’s furniture is beautiful—but it’s not just that—it’s also functional, versatile, and compatible with daily living. It’s meant to be used and loved, just like Heath.
For over 70 years, Artek and Heath have each maintained a legacy of craft rooted in natural materials and thoughtful production methods. In our own practices, we are committed to respecting the resources we rely upon, and creating beauty that draws upon the inherent characteristics of our materials, adding artistic expression, skillful craft, and lasting utility.
So it makes perfect sense that our admiration for Artek grew into collaboration. In 2018, we partnered for the first time to create a piece of furniture that married their classic bent wood with our ceramic tile. The Tea Trolley we designed together was based on the original 1937 design by Artek founders Aino and Alvar Aalto. Heath designers created custom glazed tiles for the grid of ceramic squares that form the top, in six different glaze designs.
That first collaboration knit us into a creative friendship that continues to grow, and even during the pandemic, our energy and inspiration remained high as we worked together to develop our newest collection. The 2022 Heath+Artek work is a new expression of wood and clay. The designs speak to the interrelationship between trees and earth, and celebrate the origins of the materials.
It is our love of nature and material that brings life to this simple design.
Artek's Classic Wood
The new collection includes two tile tables—one rectangular and one square—with tiles that mirror the shape of the tabletop. All Artek furniture is manufactured in Finland using Finnish birch. These tables are designed with the L-shaped bent wood leg that Alvar Aalto first developed for the table in the 1930s—a truly distinctive element of Artek's legacy that is subtle, yet unmistakeable.
Heath's Clay and Glaze
Heath’s tradition of glaze experimentation led to surfaces with natural depth. The black, white, and green glazes were designed with both companies' histories in mind. Artek has often used black and white as accent colors in their furniture. In creating Heath glazes that interpreted those modern colors, we welcomed the presence of our materials—the brown clay body and various minerals—which resulted in a warmer, stone-like white and rich, complex black, each of which has a range of sheen and texture. The green, inspired by Heath's classic KPFA Green glaze, signals the inspiration both brands take from nature. The presence of raw oxides like copper and iron react in the firing to produce dynamic variation. Each table features a single dual-glaze keystone tile that represents the maker’s mark, adding a point of visual interest and giving each piece its own unique signature.
Artek’s iconic bent wood also appears on their classic Stool 60, which Heath has reimagined as a nesting trio in three different heights, and a palette that echoes the green tile glaze. Designed as an extension of the tables’ glaze and material palettes, the stacking set creates an adaptable system of furniture that lends itself to many different arrangements and uses. When stacked, the stools reveal a satisfying cascade pattern—a functional sculpture that rests neatly on the floor.
A Continuing Journey
This is the newest instantiation of our shared design philosophies, but certainly not the last. We draw so much joy and creative nourishment from our work with Artek, and it’s exciting to consider how else we may bring our materials to life together.