• Series

Winners of the Wirkkala Bryk ideas competition are now announced

  • Competition
  • EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art

Winners of the Wirkkala Ryt idea competition are now announced. Five entries share the first prize.

The centenaries of the births of the Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala and the ceramic artist Rut Bryk are being celebrated for a period of two years. One of the key projects in an international concept competition, Sharing, which seeks ideas for a permanent showcase for the extensive collection of the Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk (TWRB) Foundation, and for the establishment of a new design centre at EMMA – the Espoo Museum of Modern Art.

The international competition was launched in December 2015, with an aim of seeking ideas for the creation of a new type of interactive and international design centre.

Organised by EMMA, the TWRB Foundation, and the Finnish Association of Architects, SAFA, the international ideas competition attracted 91 entries from Finland and other European countries, as well as from Asia and North America. The jury selected the winners without knowing the identities of the entrants.

The prize money totals €20,000 and the jury gave a €4,000 award to five quite different entries.

The award-winning entries are:

Sancho Ponza

Philip Tidwell, USA

The idea is that a visitor of the archive can request certain items from a computer program which controls a robot arm handing the selected item to a rotating belt. The spatial organization is a simple layered model where circular shelves are enclosing protected items.


Johanna Brummer ja Heini-Emilia Saari, Finland

A total of 1000 randomly selected objects are placed in a chequered shelf structure on the walls lining the space. The presentation is altered according to the situation: need for a loan, by request or arbitrarily. The shelves light up according to the visitor´s wishes, illuminating a customized trail through the works of Wirkkala and Bryk.


Chiara Montgomerie ja María Jose Orihuela, Great Britain

The physical space is a container of the archive objects and serves as a place for workshops, cinemas and exhibitions. The experience in the archive will be supplemented with digital suggestions. The proposed app allows user to select images and based on the selection, suggests a route and a possible match with a previously curated exhibition.

The Give Collection

Simon Örnberg, Finland

The main objective is in creating digital models of the archive articles containing metadata related to each object. The proposal concentrates in the act of sharing, as a shared online experience, sharing information and personal views, and in linking the archive to existing social media platforms.

Elävä Arkisto


Emmanuel Laux ja Sebastian Weindauer, Germany

In this proposal, the archive itself is the exhibition. It is stated that due to the heterogeneous nature of the material, a toolkit is required. The exhibition items would be stored in containers that serve both storing and exhibiting purposes. The containers are placed on movable shelves. The ceiling rails would make it possible to move the shelves and walls around, and the space could also be rearranged further with curtains.


More than 5 000 items

​The collection of the TWRB Foundation includes more than 5000 items: models, drawings, sketches, prototypes and photographs. In addition to material related to the work and careers of Tapio Wirkkala and Rut Bryk, the collection features many personal items, including letters and photographs from the couple’s travels and along their life’s journey.

No one idea or entry among the award-winning candidates was selected for implementation.

The award-winners will be invited to a seminar to be held in Finland on 18 October, the centenary of the birth of Rut Bryk, to discuss and develop their ideas further.

EMMA and the TWRB Foundation, in cooperation with a variety of specialists, will continue to develop the future design centre and the functional details of the foundation’s archive. The competition served as a good starting point for further discussion and development.

EMMA’s new design centre, and an exhibition based on the collection of the TWRB Foundation, will be opened in 2017.

Subscribe to the Helsinki Design Weekly newsletter

Helsinki Design Weekly is an online design publication presenting timely phenomena in the field of design and raises discussion about the future of the industry bolstered by top writers on the front lines.