Sustainable solutions rely on design

The depletion of natural resources, population growth and climate change force societies to become more efficient and more low-emission. Intelligent use of resources is emerging as an international competitive advantage: the principle of doing things differently creates new business opportunities.

Designers are needed to develop better products and high-quality services and to solve major global problems. Responsibility is no longer enough, and design is used to create sustainable solutions to people’s everyday problems and needs. This involves solutions in a variety of areas including housing, mobility, better waste management and smarter re-use of materials.

The candidates for the Ornamo Award 2016 are textile entrepreneurs Saana Sipilä and Olli Sallinen, automotive designer Pasi Pennanen and textile designer Pirjo Kääriäinen. In their respective fields, they are all pioneers in design relying on sustainable values.

The successful textile business of Saana Sipilä and Olli Sallinen is linked to aesthetical and ecological values. The designer duo has gone to great lengths to raise the profile of hemp and to create a domestic network of textile subcontractors. They provide an excellent example of what designers working with consumer products can accomplish with their expertise and choices. Sustainable choices in production are part of the Saana ja Olli brand, which the duo has been building systematically.

Textile designer Pirjo Kääriäinen has been active at Aalto University developing new design-oriented applications for cellulose that compete with conventional materials in terms of their properties, environmental values and costs. Through her work, Kääriäinen has an impact on the materials that will be creating the living environment and everyday life of the future. Automotive designer Pasi Pennanen has also focused on ways to make our current lifestyles including mobility more sustainable.

The automotive industry is in turmoil. The industry is currently stirred by the EU emission standards. The Toroidion electric car designed by Pennanen is particularly relevant now that the automotive industry is looking for solutions to mass production of zero-emission vehicles.

The pioneering work of the candidates shows that Finland is full of creative potential in developing new technologies and materials. Designers have an important role in refining these materials into appealing hit products with commercial potential and into services for the consumers of the future.

Salla Heinänen

Ornamo Executive Director