Harri Koskinen. Photo: Liisa Valonen

The “Oscar”of Finnish Design 0

The Kaj Franck Design Prize Exhibition
Design Museum, Helsinki
November 14, 2014 – January 11, 2015

Kaj Franck (1911–1989) is one of the best known Finnish designers. His designs can be found in most Finnish homes as he designed both the Kartio glassware and Teema (earlier called Kilta) tableware lines, which are very popular, nice and quite affordable.

He was the artistic director of the Wärtsilä Group (present-day Fiskars), and the artistic director as well as an instructor at the College of Applied Arts, the predecessor of Aalto University's School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

The Kaj Franck Design Prize was established in 1992, and now it is one of the most esteemed design prizes in Finland. It is awarded to a designer or team of designers that resides or works in Finland and that uses innovation in creating industrially made products. The purpose of the prize is to bring forth the central principles of Kaj Franck's oeuvre: functional, beautiful and purposeful products for everyday use.

Last year's Kaj Franck Design Prize recipient was Björn Weckström - a reformer of Finnish jewellery art whose unique style has aroused both national and international attention since the 1960s.

The first Kaj Franck Design Prize was awarded in 1992, to Professor Oiva Toikka, a versatile designer of manufactured and one-off works in glass and ceramics who is widely recognized both in Finland and abroad. She is probably one of the most famous names to have international recognition among all of the Kaj Franck Design Prize-winners. Of course, fashion designer Vuokko Nurmesniemi and designer Eero Aarnio cannot remain unmentioned in the same breath.

Harri Koskinen. Photo: Liisa Valonen

We are interested in finding out who will be this year's winner, the name of which will be announced on the morning of November 13. Correspondingly, on November 14 the Design Museum will present the opening of the latest Kaj Franck Design Prize exhibition, which is put together by Design Forum Finland, the national promotional organization for Finnish design. Design Forum Finland also oversees the awarding process. The exhibition is a very simple and straightforward one in terms of its architecture: plexiglass walls surround the items on show. On view will be 40-50 items designed by Harri Koskinen, including everything from furniture to fabrics, glassware, industrial design pieces, designs in small series, and one-off pieces. In short, a retrospective, but with some quite recent works as well.