The candidates for the Ornamo Award 2016 are named. The candidates, selected by the Board of Directors of the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo, are textile firm Saana ja Olli, automotive designer Pasi Pennanen and textile designer Pirjo Kääriäinen. The Ornamo Award is a highly valued recognition of current design and industrial art. The award is 5,000 euros. The winner is selected by interior designer Simo Heikkilä, whose choice will be announced on the Design Day on 20 April 2016.
This year’s candidates are linked by an exceptional and visionary approach to creating sustainable design solutions in the textile and automotive industries, which are in the process of renewal.
“The pioneering work of the candidates shows that Finland is full of creative potential to develop new technologies and materials. Designers play an important role in refining them into commercial successes and appealing products and services for the consumers of the future,” says Salla Heinänen, Executive Director of the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo.
Sipilä and Sallinen commercialized sustainable design
The textile design duo Saana Sipilä (born 1986) and Olli Sallinen (1983) have in recent years created a recognizable brand driven by individuals. The brand is known for interior design textiles that utilize folk traditions with a contemporary approach. In addition to Finland, products under the Saana ja Olli brand are sold in 12 different countries.
The firm has gone to great lengths to create a fully domestic production chain and to raise the profile of hemp. The cultivation of hemp to produce natural fibres is on the rise as an alternative to industrially cultivated cotton. Textile products made out of hemp fabrics are produced by Saana ja Olli locally in Western Finland.
The firm cooperates with domestic manufacturers. Sallinen says, “Many designers claimed that there were no textile subcontractors in Finland. It took some detective work from us to find good and professional manufacturers. We want to keep production close by and to know who manufactures our products.”
Since their first and sold-out pillow collection, the firm has expanded their product range into a comprehensive home decorating collection. In addition to designing their own textile products, the designer duo has produced designs for a number of Finnish and international firms.
The Ornamo Board of Directors firmly believe that the small-scale Finnish industry and manufacturing need more success stories like Saana ja Olli. The Board commends the firm’s responsible production policy and high quality, as well as the joy, energy and appreciation for Finnish folk traditions reflected by the firm’s corporate image.
The world’s most efficient electric car created in Finland
Automotive designer Pasi Pennanen (born 1969) has a career spanning nearly 20 years in the service of the international automotive industry. He is praised by the Ornamo Board for his responsible design work relying on sustainable values.
Pennanen has demonstrated his design talent by reforming driving and mobility. He has gained recognition as a designer for Jaguar and as the head designer of the Toroidion 1MW Concept electric car. The concept car launched last spring and manufactured in Raasepori, Finland, is considered the world’s most efficient electric car.
The Ornamo Board comments that Pennanen’s work as the Toroidion head designer is particularly relevant today, as the automotive industry looks for solutions to the future mass production of zero-emission vehicles. The Board also commends Pennanen’s merits in raising the international competitiveness of Finnish design competence.
According to Pennanen, a transition to electric cars is slowed down by the conservatism and the cautiousness of the auto industry. He says, “For the importance of the design to be recognized in any field, designers have to be uncompromising in their ideas. I would like to see similar radical moves in other fields that burden the environment, and in that the electric cars represent a significant move to the right direction.”
Design thinker impacts biotextiles of the future
Textile designer Pirjo Kääriäinen (born 1963) is a good example of a design thinker whose thinking produces tangible outcomes in our everyday lives only years later. Kääriäinen has an influence on the objects and production technologies of the future and on what kind of biomaterial focused businesses emerge from among young entrepreneurs.
Kääriäinen studies the possibilities offered by wood-derived cellulose and the impact of design on materials research at the Aalto University. She also guides students in experimental materials research on the CHEMARTS courses. One of the outcomes related to her work is Ioncell-F™, a process that can revolutionize cotton recycling. The process won an H&M Global Change Award worth 300,000 euros in February 2016.
The designer’s interest in biomaterials emerged from her desire to help make a better future. She says, “It’s an illusion that we could completely detach ourselves from the material world. Therefore it’s crucial what kind of materials we will be using to build our future environment.”
According to the Ornamo Board, Kääriäinen’s transdisciplinary development work gives a boost to the textile business which is in need of renewal. The Board says that the textile designer’s work reflects the expansion of the role of designers in the best possible manner: Kääriäinen is a design thinker who combines science, business and art on a large scale in her work.
What is the Ornamo Award?
The Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo has awarded design professionals since 1981. This year the annual Ornamo Award highlights three topical and celebrated contemporary designers by naming them as candidates for the award. The candidacy is a highly valued recognition in itself, as the selection of candidates is based on a two-stage peer review process by design experts. The Ornamo Board of Directors selects the candidates on the basis of proposals made by Ornamo members. The Ornamo Award 2016 will be presented at the Design Day seminar on the Design Day, 20 April 2016, held at the Black Box of Musiikkitalo (Helsinki Music Centre) 15–18 (3–5 p.m.). This year’s winner is selected by interior designer Simo Heikkilä.