Candidates for the 2017 Ornamo Award are Renewing a Changing Field of Design

The candidates for the 2017 Ornamo Award have been selected. This year, the board of the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo shortlisted service designer Mikko Koivisto, design director Antti Olin and designer Aamu Song for the award.

The candidates share a contemporary approach, influence in the field and a perspective on the future.

– All the candidates have contributed to opening up new avenues in design, which is currently being thoroughly challenged by change in traditional models of action, says Kristian Keinänen, chairman of the board of the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo.

The Ornamo Award is a highly regarded professional distinction showcasing contemporary design and applied art. The prize sum is €5,000. This year’s winner of the award will be chosen by Pauli Aalto-Setälä, CEO of Aller Media. His choice will be announced at Design Museum in Helsinki on 24 April 2017. The candidates are featured in Enter and Encounter – Invitation to Tomorrow, a commemorative exhibition of contemporary design jointly produced by Ornamo and Design Museum, which opened at Design Museum on 24 March.

Pauli Aalto-Setälä follows with interest the field of design, which is currently in a fundamental stage of change. Media, in which he works in an executive position, has witnessed the turmoil of change for a long while.

– Design thinking is required in the process of change in media and many other sectors. There are currently many phenomena and trends whose utilisation can benefit from design thinking. Are we already applying, for example, artificial intelligence and digital communication in the best possible way? Aalto-Setälä asks.

Encountering the customer is a major emerging trend”

Lead Service Designer, Customer Experience Director and partner of the Hellon service design agency Mikko Koivisto is worthy of recognition as a pioneer of service design, and a designer with major influence on the growth of this sector in Finland. Service design is still a new area that is rapidly growing. Koivisto is one of the first academically trained professionals in this field and he has been involved in creating a market for service design, developing it both in Finland and abroad.

Right now, service design is more topical than ever before. All sectors of industry are moving towards services at a fast pace. In the United States and Great Britain, where Hellon has its other office, service-related business already accounts for over 80% of GDP.

– The move towards services is still a megatrend and encounters with customers are an emerging major trend. Companies are hiring customer encounter directors, because the customer experience has more influence on the choices of buyers than prices, says Koivisto.

“Products must have a reason to exist”

As a designer and design director at the Isku Interior, Antti Olin has implemented changes that have made it possible to keep furniture manufacturing in Finland. Isku addressed the challenges of market forces by carrying out significant automation at its furniture factory in Lahti and through the new Health and Active Learning alliances that Olin has been creating.

The Health collection of furniture for public space was the result of experiments with materials. An approximately three-year period of product development led to introducing into the product range furniture in which all the surfaces are antimicrobial: the upholstery fabric, the brass and copper hand rests and the paints, varnishes and laminates. The alliance for cooperation in partnership ensures that faucets, locks and other items of the interior are antimicrobial.

There has been great interest in the Health collection and furniture reducing contagion has been supplied to an operating theatre and a care home, among other facilities.

‘Products must have a reason to exist; it brings about a new aspect, such as reducing sick leave,’ says Olin.

New energy for heritage products

Aamu Song has opened doors to a sector of small and middle-sized business that would be declining without creative design. With the aid of her Company firm, Song has been introducing new solutions and energy for sectors making heritage products.

Company designs and produces for its clients handcrafted products around the world. Its most recent collection is Secrets of Russia, to be followed by South Japan and the American Amish community, whose crafts Song will display in New York next June.

‘We started to look for fine products and noticed that design does not always come from designers but also from skilled craftspeople and factories. We set out to look for these people and we found them,’ Song points out in describing her method of working.

Aamu Song wants to be a link in the chain that keeps the craft heritage alive, not in museums but in the hands of people.

– Many things have become separated from their roots. Mittens should feel in your hand like they were knitted by your grandmother in order to have a meaning.

What is the Ornamo Award?

The Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo has given prizes to professionals in design since 1981. In 2017 the shortlisted candidates for the Ornamo Award are three contemporary and distinguished influential figures in design. Being shortlisted is in itself a valued distinction, since this choice is based on a two-stage peer review by experts in design. The board of the Ornamo association draws up the shortlist on the basis of proposals from the membership.

The Ornamo Award will be announced at Design Museum on 24 April at Ornamo’s and Design Museum’s joint commemorative exhibition Enter and Encounter – An Invitation to Tomorrow. This exhibition of contemporary design invites visitors to encounter changes in design and society with an open mind and in a positive spirit. It presents examples of the role of design in areas such as slowing climate change, changes in food production and the utilisation of artificial intelligence.