Mari Kiviniemi: Retail sector welcomes designers’ ideas

Kaupan liiton toimitusjohtaja Mari Kiviniemi valitsee Ornamo-palkinnon voittajan. Kuva: Anni Koponen.
Kaupan liiton toimitusjohtaja Mari Kiviniemi valitsee tänä vuonna Ornamo-palkinnon voittajan. Kuva: Anni Koponen.

This year’s Ornamo Award winner will be selected by Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director of the Finnish Commerce Federation.

“I’m happy and proud to have been chosen for this task. It’s an honour to decide the winner and to hand out the Ornamo Award, but at the same time I’m relieved that the jury has narrowed the candidates down to three. The process is interesting and I find myself learning a lot about design.”

Kiviniemi is already familiar with many of the measures aimed at promoting design. When serving as the OECD Deputy Secretary-General, Kiviniemi worked on anti-piracy and copyright legislation. According to an estimate by the OECD and the Customs, last year the total value of internationally traded counterfeits amounted to about 500 billion euros, representing 3.3 per cent of global trade. This figure covers only cross-border flows of goods.

“The products range from medicines to technology, but it is known that piracy is particularly common in design-intensive sectors such as the clothing and shoe industry.”

Designers are also an instrumental force behind circular economy and play an important role in developing new raw materials.

Piracy cannot be combated by legislation alone. According to Kiviniemi, consumers need to be educated to support the designers.

“This is also an information and cultural issue. People need to be made to think about where the money they spend actually goes.”

According to Kiviniemi, designers are also an instrumental force behind circular economy and play an important role in developing new raw materials.

“In sustainable development, designers are becoming increasingly significant. It takes curiosity and interest to do things in a novel way. The retail sector is very welcoming to fresh ideas, as consumers are interested in the carbon footprint of products.”

Aesthetics is not to be forgotten either. When asked about her best personal design experience, Kiviniemi goes back to the year 2004 and the completion of the Finnish Parliament Annex, when a new private office, a dining hall and a meeting room built of different types of wood were part of her daily life.

“An inspiring environment is obviously important. It was great to see the whole building, the architecture, all that design and the art works,” the former prime minister recalls.

 

Text: Jenna Heino

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