MANTLE – Sauna Stove

Mantle was designed in Finland based on visiting and experiencing both historical and modern interpretations of Finnish saunas. Although the stove pays respect to the traditions with its wood-burning principal and materiality, the interaction and function are subtly reimagined to enhance the ritualistic experience of watering the stones to create steam.



The process of designing Mantle took over two months of regular sauna visits in southern Finland as part of the research process. The final design merges both contemporary and historic elements of the Finish sauna culture, and influences not only the materials chosen, but also the overall experience with the stove. Given the fundamental value of saunas in Finnish culture, an idea of saunas being ‘temples for the body & mind’ emerged and led me to finding inspiration in the aesthetic principals of architects such as Corbusier. Specifically, the impact of light and simple geometric forms on experiencing spaces was influential in the design process of Mantle.


Majority of the work was done in Maxon Cinema 4D. The design process started with a concept of a sauna building and interior, which would interpret the architectural inspiration as a sauna experience. The outcome was a ‘temple for the body & mind’. The ideas and principals discovered through this experiment influenced the simple aesthetic of the final design of Mantle, and primarily the watering mechanism and experience.






Mantle received positive feedback, and a prototype was exhibited at 2017 Helsinki Design Week.

The process of designing and making the Mantle was both an exciting experience and a learning curve. The research was a challenge to gain sufficient understanding of Finnish sauna culture and stove principals as there are many subtle details that determine the efficiency of burning. The prototyping of Mantle was a challenge in itself considering the scale, materials and resources required, but it was a fundamental step forward in my craft abilities.

Lastly, I fell in love with Finnish saunas, and I have missed them since.

Designed by Jakub Zahor.
Project designed at Aalto University of Arts.
Academic project organized by Simo Puintila.

Jakub Zahor

Having graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a Master of European Design degree, I have spent the last five years studying and working around Europe on a variety of design projects from designing a sauna stove in Finland to branding a business jet operator.

Since May 2018, I finished my studies and work full-time as a freelance designer with a growing portfolio of clients around Europe on brand and product related projects.