Welcome to enter Design Prize 1996

Rewarding excellent design
One of the important tasks of Svensk Form/Swedish Society of Crafts and Design is to spread knowledge about, and verify, good, self-assured Swedish design. One forum for this is the Excellent Swedish Design awards, which during their 13 years of existence have become an integral part of the public debate on Swedish design. Sometimes the awards have been seen as a sort of Swedish Championship in design and design management. However, it is important to remember that each annual presentation is the result of a verdict on the products entered, and which have come into production during the year - and it is the verdict of a jury which is specially constituted each year. It is a significant, but difficult to administer, inventory of the year┤s total output. For that reason many intresting examples of contemporary Swedish design are unavoidably missing. This year new criteria were introduced to make the awards easier to understand. For one thing, all the products were divided into categories so that comparisons between mutually different design disciplines would not seem so puzzling. For another, the division into categories is intended as a preparation for Svensk Form┤s coming Design Center on the Internet. In addition, each antrant was asked to describe the particular design problem that was solved in his or her product. To make Excellent Swedish Design a matter of national significance, the exhibit is touring, as in previous years, in an intensive 12-month program to many places throughout Sweden. This costly program is made possible to a great extent by financial contributions from the exhibitors. Svensk Form is working untiringly to make Excellent Swedish Design independent in this respect, and we hope for more support from industry and cultural contributors in the future. A complementary award, Excellent Young Design, is also planned for the future. Through the Excellent Swedish Design exhibition, we wish to spur manufacturers and designer to a deliberate focus on self-assured, significant design, and at the same time draw the attention of the public to design in our everyday life. Thousands of industrial and hand-crafted forms surrounds us daily. The level of quality in their use and appearance also decisively affects our quality of life. The role of design in the "sustainable society", the elimination of the "mountain of waste" and the satisfaction of our legitimate need of beauty in the creative environment are of central significance. Even when we are dissatisfied with the award winners, it gives rise to a healthy questioning of the forms that we choose and that are forced upon us, so that we can become more knowledgeable and more demanding consumers of design. Excellent Swedish Design is one of several instruments in this attempt - an instrument that can, and will, be developed further.

Johan Huldt, Director,
Svensk Form/Swedish Society of Crafts and Design

Excellent Swedish "Expression"
On a recent visit to Hamburg, Germany, I saw an exhibition by a respected German professor and "Gebrauchsgraphiker". He had been awarded a very desirable prize and was being honored for his achievement with a richly documented exhibition at Hamburg┤s Kunst-und Gewerbemuseum. It struck me then what care and effort he had put into each project. Hundreds of sketches formed the basis for a final solution, regardless of the importance of the assignment (in my opinion).
When we view the works that were entered for this Year┤s Excellent Swedish Design awards, we are struck anew by how a well thought-out, thoroughly worked-out effort always wins the prize. This may be true even when the object is apparently simple - or perhas especially then.
There seem to be many who struggle year after year to find the solution to a problem. And one fine day they have scraped away everything that is unnecessary - which should always be a criterion for good design. A finished job: there is also the hope that one has given the market an almost archetypal object which will never need to be changed. A product that will please the consumers and generate income for the manufacturer for a long time to come.
The products and solutions that have received an Excellent Swedish Design award are on their way to that goal. Those that received a Design Prize are, according to the jury, as close as one can get. The interesting thing is whether the jury has judged correctly. This can only be determined in a ten-year perspective or more - when it will no longer be relevant. In addition to being jury chairman, I was also a jury member in the Graphic Design section, and many possibly make the following reflection: Can a complicated, technologically advanced product in an attractive package be judged in the same world as a calling card given to a friend? Many think it┤s absurd, especially the person whose elegant creative effort resulted in the former. Whereas I maintain, and always will, that it is the expression that should be rewarded. There must always be a certain uniqueness of expression. This uniquness must be adequate. If we look back in design history, this phenomenon appears obvious. Adequate expression That is probably what this year┤s jury has tried to judge. Thank you for your confidence. On behalf of the jury.

Torbj÷rn Lenskog
Jury chairman, Art director

(Originally published in Form Design Magazine #4, 1996.)


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