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Robin Petravic: Honoring the people behind the products at Heath Ceramics
Episode 59 of the Design Better Podcast
If you’re a fan of architecture and design, you’re probably familiar with the mid-century modern movement. It brought a simple, clean aesthetic inspired by the Bauhaus and International movements to the US. Heath Ceramics, founded by Edith Heath in 1948 and influenced by mid-century modern principles, is still making beautiful hand-crafted tableware and architectural tile in Sausalito, California.
We wanted to chat with Heath’s current owner, Robin Petravic, to find out how they approach designing within the legacy of the Heath brand, as well as the story of how he and his partner and co-owner Catherine Bailey came to be owners of the company.
We also talk with Robin about how the pandemic affected their business, and some of the collaborative challenges and opportunities they faced in transitioning to a hybrid-remote scenario.
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Robin Petravic runs the day-to-day business of Heath Ceramics with a focus on operations, manufacturing, and retail. As co-owner, he also sets the long-term vision and goals for the company which is led by design and a passion for creative opportunity, with the responsibility to ensure they are met while maintaining financial viability and the ability to continue to invest for the long term. In business since 1948, the company has 130+ employees and is headquartered in Sausalito, CA, where all design, marketing, and administrative functions are based, and has two factories in Sausalito and San Francisco which produce all of is ceramic dinnerware and tile.
Prior to Heath Ceramics, Robin studied product design in the MFA program at Stanford University, and worked as a product designer and mechanical engineer at several companies.