Swedish Design 1997
Of 350 products entered for judging this year, nearly 90 were accepted by the jurys discerning eyes. The 90 earned the epithet "Excellent" while the rest had to be content with being "noted". "Renewal of form" and "innovation" were the key concepts to guide the jury in their selection.
At first it felt presumptuous to judge the work of their colleagues, but after getting an overview and obtaining additional information their decisions were surprisingly unanimous and self-evident in the end. As a designer one knows that outstanding results can be achieved only once in a while, despite high ambitions and proven competence in every case. All you skilled entrepreneurs and designers are welcome to enter new and exciting products again next year!
While the jury struggled with their selection, Swedish society is undergoing a major change by Swedish standards. The question arises, where does the design profession stand, or where will it stand, in this process? Happily, this years products include the traditional features of Swedish design: simplicity, the efficient use of resources, functionality, care for nature and the environment, and accessibility for everyone in everyday life. Lets hope that we designers will use our skills to serve a humane society.
Good form creates quality i.e., values for and valuations in society which, however, is appreciated and valued far too little. In recent years higher education and industry have become interested in design because of its potential as a strategic tool in competition. Unlike several other countries, however, Sweden lacks a common design policy of long-range significance for the country. Is this a sign of official ignorance and/or parsimony.
Excellent Swedish Design strives to educate in matters of form, but there is no learning at the elementary school level to which it can relate. We are constantly influenced by images and forms sight represents 80 per cent of our sensory impressions but competence and training in the field of image and form is not counted as an important basic subject in the elementary school!
We the jury hope that the breadth of "Excellent Swedish Design" a breadth that sometimes feels hopelessly divergent will, together with our work in selecting the award-winners, help to contribute to a fresh and representative survey of the state of the art of Swedish design in 1997. We hope that it will also awaken interest and debate in a wider audience.
As chairman of the jury I would like to thank the jury members for all their dedicated and unpaid participation. Special thanks to Susanne Svensson, The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, who examined the products from the ecological point of view.