Ornamo celebrates the achievements of Lapuan Kankurit, ceramic artist Kirsi Kivivirta and Aalto University Dean Anna Valtonen

The Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo Board is delighted to announce the recipients of the Ornamo Sphere, the Ornamo gold medals and the organisation’s new honorary members. This year, the distinctions are awarded in celebration of Finland’s 100 years of independence.

The Ornamo Sphere is presented annually to a business in recognition of an outstanding creative contribution to the design industry, while the gold medals are granted to individual members for their professional achievements in both Finland and further afield.

The Ornamo industry accolades, the Ornamo Sphere, a miniature sculpture, and the gold medals were first presented in 1961.

This year’s Ornamo Sphere will be presented to Finnish weavers Lapuan Kankurit for their long-standing commitment to the Finnish textile industry during a period of sustained change and for their skill in making successful use of Finnish expertise in design. The company’s ongoing investment in its weaving facilities and its considerable commercial success on the global market are an inspiring example for all in an industry facing a slow decline.

This year’s Ornamo gold medals will be presented to ceramic artist Kirsi Kivivirta and Anna Valtonen, Dean of the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

In addition to her considerable personal artistic merits, Kirsi Kivivirta (1959–) has made a significant contribution to the design industry in her role as Ornamo chairwoman and through her work with O-galleria and many other Finnish and international arts projects. Kivivirta is known for her tireless and positive energy and for generously sharing her expertise to promote the arts and high-quality professional craftsmanship in Finland.

Dr. Anna Valtonen (1974–) has played a significant role in the development of creative arts training within higher education, first through her work as Rector at the Umeå Institute of Design from 2009 until 2014 and since 2013 as Dean of the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Ornamo wishes to recognise Valtonen’s long-standing contribution to ensuring that the artistic disciplines have a key role within the Aalto University strategy as well as teaching and research activity. Valtonen additionally sits on the boards of a number of companies, using her role to further understanding of design among Finnish businesses.

Six new honorary members

Each year, the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo awards honorary memberships to individuals who have given particularly distinguished and meritorious service to further the aims of the association.

In Finland’s centenary year, the 106-year-old organisation wishes to recognise the achievements of the following members:

Raimo Nikkanen (1946–) has made a significant contribution to the development and teaching of industrial design and is also a distinguished practitioner in his own right. During his tenure as assistant professor and professor at Aalto University, Nikkanen helped to shape the HE curriculum for industrial design. He has also worked across a number of international networks to develop

teaching and training in this area. Raimo Nikkanen served as Ornamo chairman from 1997 until 2000.

Anu Pentik (1942–) is the founder and artistic director of Pentik, the world’s northernmost ceramic factory founded in 1971. The 75-year-old ceramic artist continues to work daily at the factory studio in Posio, northern Finland. Pentik cites open-mindedness, artistic ability and an unwavering respect for craftsmanship as her key professional strengths.

Jukka Savolainen (1976–) has a long-standing working relationship with Ornamo through his role as Director of Helsinki’s Design Museum. The two organisations’ latest collaborations, the Enter and Encounter exhibition at the Design Museum and the Muotoilukasvatus kouluihin project to introduce design into the Finnish primary curriculum have been successful in generating debate on design outside the industry itself.

Lena Strömberg (1943–) served a long tenure as the Director of the Finnish Association of Interior Architects SIO as well as the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo. She has made an outstanding contribution to the industry and worked tirelessly to create a viable business model for Ornamo. During Strömberg’s tenure, Ornamo made a significant move from an operational model based on volunteer and secretarial input towards a project-based expert organisation.

Ulla-Maija Vikman (1943–) has continued to make a first rate contribution to the design industry through her active and positive work with Ornamo and Textile Artists Texo, a member organisation, alongside her own artistic activity. With her indefatigable efforts, she has facilitated crucially important and cross-disciplinary progress on a number of issues, most particularly the Ornamo sheltered housing project.

Risto Väätänen (1945–) is an industrial design visionary who has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of design within Finland’s heavy industry sector. Väätänen is responsible for creating the OptiConceptM paper manufacturing concept for Valmet. Although not a well-known public figure, Väätänen is highly respected within the industry internationally for the ingenuity of his solutions and designs.

To find out more about the recipients of this year’s Ornamo industry accolades, please visit www.ornamo.fi/tunnustukset (in Finnish only).