Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director of the Finnish Commerce Federation, will select this year’s Ornamo Award winner from among three innovative designer

The nominees for the appreciated Ornamo Award are textile designer Maija Arela, industrial designer Ville Kokkonen, and shoe designer Minna Peltomäki. The nominees for the 2019 Ornamo Award are visionaries of design who have created solutions for extending the life span of clothing, making the most of everyday utility items using smart technology and replacing leather in footwear, for example. In addition to a business-oriented mind-set, the candidates are united by internationalism and an interest in materials and life-cycle thinking.

This year’s Ornamo Award winner will be chosen by Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director of the Finnish Commerce Federation. Her choice will be announced at Musiikkitalo Helsinki Music Centre at 5 pm on 5 December.

Kiviniemi is already familiar with many of the measures aimed at promoting design. Kiviniemi worked as Deputy Secretary-General at the OECD until 2019, where research to promote antipiracy and copyright legislation was carried out. According to an estimate by the OECD and Customs, the total value of internationally traded counterfeits amounted to approximately 500 billion dollars in 2016, representing 3.3 per cent of global trade. This figure covers only crossborder flows of goods.

“It is known that piracy is particularly common in design-intensive sectors such as the clothing and shoe industry. Piracy cannot be combated by legislation alone,” says Kiviniemi. 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,” Kiviniemi continues.

Kiviniemi: Designers play a key role in circular economy

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

“Designers are becoming increasingly significant when it comes to sustainable development. 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,” says Kiviniemi.

Ornamo Award nominees create solutions for sustainable everyday life

Textile designer Maija Arela (b. 1950) is known not only as the founder of the family-owned Arela, famous for its sustainable fashion, but also for her work at the International Colour Consortium, which creates future trend colour charts. Arela is a family business best known for its cashmere and merino knitwear and its ground-breaking knitwear care service. The company offers a paid care service for its knits, allowing customers to extend the life of their clothes. The care service is a significant part of the business, and it acts as a guarantee to the buyer. Arela, who has worked with colours for a long time, predicts that white will become a luxury colour as recycled materials
have made browns fashionable.

Industrial designer Ville Kokkonen (b. 1975) lives and works in Switzerland. Kokkonen carries out futuristic, ecological design projects for his own company and conducts research in materials development at Aalto University. Kokkonen’s strong interest in product development and related research is also evident on the designer’s desk. One of his designs is a foldable solar-collecting screen, which photographers and other professionals can use to charge their equipment while travelling. The indoor air purifying smart green wall is a product manufactured by the Finnish company Naava, which was awarded the 2017 Fennia Prize for design. During his career, Kokkonen has also become known as Head of Design at Artek and for his work in the research and product development team at the Swiss company Vitra. He has just finished his three-year tenure as Professor of Design Practices at Aalto University.

Shoe designer Minna Peltomäki (b.1970) is known for revising the Pomar brand in the highly competitive footwear market. In her work, Peltomäki takes into account the northern climate, the ageing population and ethical consumers. Through her design company, Peltomäki leads a threestrong designer team at Pomar, which seeks to promote sustainability with streamlined working methods by minimising cutting waste, reducing the use of chemicals and concentrating its operations near the Nordic countries, which constitute its main market area. Pomar shoes are made in Estonia, which is rare, as only three per cent of the world’s shoes are now made in Europe. Peltomäki also boldly experiments with materials to find high-quality alternatives to leather, and she has launched vegan shoes which contain nothing of animal origin.

What is the Ornamo Award?

The Ornamo Award has been awarded since 2015, and the candidacy is a highly valued recognition in itself. Nominees are put forward by Ornamo members, with a three-strong shortlist chosen by the Ornamo board. The prize is 5,000 euros. This year’s winner will be selected by Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director of the Finnish Commerce Federation. The winner will be announced at Musiikkitalo Helsinki Music Centre at 5 pm on 5 December. A number of international influencers in politics and design will also attend the event this year, as the awards ceremony will take place at the end of the two-day Design Policy Conference.

Images of the candidates and their work can be downloaded from the 2019 Ornamo Award image bank at:

The Ornamo Awards Ceremony will take place in the Lower Foyer at Musiikkitalo Helsinki Music Centre at 5 pm on Thursday, 5 December. The event language will be English. Media representatives are warmly welcome to the event. Register here: