Living room is designed by Man Yau together with Artek for artists Erna Aaltonen and Howard Smith.
Man Yau (born 1991) is an artist living and working in Helsinki. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Aalto University of Art and Design in 2013 specializing in ceramics and glass design. Her latest work has been included in group exhibitions, such as “Recorded Matter” in the American Museum of Ceramic Art in California, “Turning Point” in Gallery Sculptor in Helsinki, and the Feministic Forum in Valssaamo, Helsinki. Yau’s private exhibition took place in Gallery Huuto in Helsinki last August, and she was awarded the Young Talent of the Year at Muoto Gala 2017. At the moment, Yau is preparing an installation for the Stockmann’s department store in Helsinki as well as her future residence in the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Japan.
Artek was founded in Helsinki in 1935 by four young idealists: Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen, and Nils-Gustav Hahl. Their goal was “to sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of living by exhibitions and other educational means”.
In keeping with the radical spirit of its founders, Artek today remains an innovative player in the world of modern design, developing new products at the intersection of design, architecture and art.
The Artek collection consists of furniture, lighting and accessories designed by Finnish masters and leading international designers. It stands for clarity, functionality and poetic simplicity.
Erna Aaltonen & Howard Smith
“I wanted to dedicate my Summer Home to Howard and Erna, because they are a great source of inspiration for my own production. Howard’s colour scale, his versatile use of materials and his sense of form are in a league of their own; they encompass something very natural and unreal at the same time. I’ve been influenced by Howard’s work since my first year in the university. I remember seeing his reliefs and paper art and being thrilled by the colours, forms and arrangements and how they allowed me to smell the metal, feel the rough texture of the pigment, and question the perspectives presented. A two-dimensional piece can become a cone. Erna is loyal to her material, ceramics, which is important to me since I’ve gone through the ceramic and glass programme myself. I’ve only learned to know her work after learning to understand the character of the material better. I can see now that Erna’s work is not only beautiful but apparently a very challenging process. The interesting aspect of Erna’s work is what is not shown; it’s like there is a secret under the beautifully finished ceramic colour-rich surface. The form is so strong, and there’s a tiny hole on the surface through which we can peek and see black – but it’s not empty. I’d like to include the experience that I’ve had watching their works in this interior. Their works reflect playfulness, curiosity and happiness. It would be great to create that feeling in a living room.”