Ornamo Award goes to electric car innovator Pasi Pennanen

Pasi Pennanen. Kuva: Anni Koponen
Ornamo-palkinnon voittaja 2016: automuotoilija Pasi Pennanen. Kuva: Anni Koponen.

The winner of the Ornamo Award for design in 2016 is automotive designer Pasi Pennanen, the creator of the Toroidion concept car cited as the world’s most efficient electric car.

The winner was selected from three candidates by interior designer Simo Heikkilä, who praises Pennanen for his skillful touch and struggle for the hegemony of Finnish industrial design. The Ornamo Award 2016 is presented on Design Day, Wednesday, 20 April, at an event organized by the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo at Musiikkitalo (Helsinki Music Centre). The award is 5,000 euros.

Heikkilä comments, “Pasi Pennanen possesses an exceptionally strong, elastic sense of design, which culminates in his latest project on Toroidion. Electric cars are already part of today, but Pasi Pennanen has taken an enormous leap with his perseverance and technological innovation that has shaken the automotive industry. This speaks clearly that we can still accomplish things here as long as we have the courage.”

Toroidion and Tesla linked only by electricity

Risen to world fame as a designer for Jaguar, Pasi Pennanen presented his own concept car, Toroidion 1MW Concept, at the Monaco motor show. Toroidion is cited as the world’s most efficient electric car. It is based on a completely new type of electric motor solution and a technology that allows fast battery replacement, which Pennanen compares to a gas bottle.

Pennanen explains, “Using gas bottles, owners of gas grills and motorhomes don’t need to take the grills and motorhomes to a service station to be filled up – why should car owners have to do that? Our technology allows electric car owners to recharge their batteries at times that suit them best, without having to stand in a line at a station in pouring rain. This also avoids power grid overloads, which benefits both the customer and the power company.”

Pasi Pennanen, who graduated as Finland’s first automotive designer in 1997, started to develop Toroidion from scratch. His development work was based on an idea for the ideal car for himself. In addition to meeting high ecological standards, an electric car should be at least as comfortable to drive as a car with an internal combustion engine – without compromising speed. The Toroidion concept car has four electric motors, with combined power of 1,000 kW, that is, 1,341 horsepower.

“Cars have to become faster and faster; there’s no way around it. But we must accomplish this by meeting the constantly increasing standards of green and clean,” Pennanen says.

He says that the frequent comparisons of Toroidion with the U.S. electric car are in many cases futile.

“What these cars have in common is that they run on electricity. Otherwise their solutions are completely different.”

Toroidion is manufactured in Finland, and the growth objectives for it are high. Pennanen estimates that the company will be employing a high number of automotive experts in the next few years.

The candidates for the award are pioneers of resource-smart solutions

The Ornamo Award for designers is presented in its current form for the second time. This highly respected award gives visibility to contemporary design.

The Ornamo Board of Directors named three candidates for the Ornamo Award 2016. The candidates are linked by their visionary approach to creating sustainable design solutions in the textile and automotive fields, which are both in the process of renewal. The other candidates in addition to automotive designer Pasi Pennanen were the textile firm Saana ja Olli and textile designer Pirjo Kääriäinen.

The textile designer duo Saana Sipilä and Olli Sallinen 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. The firm has gone to great lengths to create a fully domestic production chain and to raise the profile of hemp.

Textile designer Pirjo Kääriäinen is a good example of a design thinker whose thinking produces tangible outcomes in our everyday lives only years later. Kääriäinen studies the possibilities offered by cellulose at Aalto University and advances the impact of design in materials research. One of the outcomes of Kääriäinen’s multidisciplinary 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.

More about the Ornamo Award and the candidates:


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