Professor Eero Aarnio (born 1932) has been chosen to receive the Kaj Franck Design Prize of 2008. The prize jury made the choice at its meeting last spring, and the prize-giving ceremony will take place at Design Forum Finland on Thursday 11 December 2008. The exhibits will include a large number of new products along with popular classic designs by Aarnio.
Eero Aarnio’s internationally significant career in furniture design already began in the 1960s. After graduating from the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki, Aarnio established his own office specializing in interior and industrial design in 1962. Many of his works in the spirit of pop art soon made international headlines and became design icons. The prize-winning designer has created a great number of products of different kinds, from furniture for homes and public space to various utility objects. Aarnio’s Trioli children’s chair (2003), also designed for Magis, earned him the Compasso d’Oro Prize of 2008 in Italy. Eero Aarnio’s work in design has had positive effect on employment in Finland. Over 90% of the products are exported. Aarnio’s most recent exhibition has toured many countries and his works are on permanent display in leading collections, such as MoMA in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein.
”I always draw the piece in full scale. It’s almost like making the actual object and shaping its mass. It shows textiles as a black surface. If I draw only the contour, it is just a line. If I already give the object visual mass and weight on paper, it comes quite close to the right mood.” Professor Eero Aarnio,Interior Architect, winner of the Kaj Franck Design Prize of 2008.
Now awarded for the 17th time, the Kaj Franck Design Prize has achieved unreserved popularity among design professionals, the media and the public. The prize jury of 2008 consisted of CEO Pentti Kivinen of the Finnish Fair Foundation, Rector Helena Hyvönen of the University of Art and Design Helsinki, Professor and designer Heikki Orvola, the designer and Kaj Franck expert Tauno Tarna, and CEO Mikko Kalhama of Design Forum Finland. According to the unanimous view of the prize jury, Professor Eero Aarnio has remained faithful to his own style throughout his career of over 50 years and has produced an extensive body of work. His oeuvre is marked by distinct, open lines, bright colours and the free and surprising use of forms. Few Finnish designers have achieved such world fame with their products as Eero Aarnio, who has created many objects that have become icons of Finnish design. Products designed by Aarnio reveal his thorough knowledge of materials and production technology. They serve a broad range of users, from children to business executives, and from homes to offices. Eero Aarnio’s insightful use of material, form and colour makes him part of the distinguished continuum of recipients of the Kaj Franck Design Prize.
Instituted in 1992, the Kaj Franck Design Prize maintains the heritage of Kaj Franck (1911–89), who was known as the”conscience of Finnish design”. The prize sum of € 10,000 is donated by the Finnish Fair Foundation. The prize includes a medal designed by Tapio Junno and an exhibition opening at Design Forum on 12 December 2008. In addition to the Finnish Fair Foundation, Martela Plc has also supported the exhibition. A catalogue of Aarnio’s work will appear in connection with the exhibition. Previous recipients of the prize represent a wide range of leading achievements in Finnish design in the areas of furniture, fashion and textile design, ceramics and industrial design. See http://www.designforum.fi/kajfranck_en
The Kaj Franck Design Prize of 2008 – Eero Aarnio 12 December 2008–11 January 2009
Design Forum Finland, Space1, Erottajankatu 7, Helsinki