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The Kaj Franck Prize has been awarded to a team for the first time

  • Aivan
  • Design Forum
  • Design Museum Helsinki
  • Kaj Franck Design Prize

The team of six partners at the design agency Aivan has been selected as the recipient of the Kaj Franck Design Prize 2019, granted by Design Forum Finland: Jarkko Jämsén, Minka Koukkunen, Aleksi Kuokka, Antti Mäkelä, Aki Suvanto, and Saku Sysiö. 

Aivan is a multidisciplinary design agency founded in 2007. In 2010, it shared the Young Designer of the Year award granted by Design Forum Finland with the design community Imu. Aivan’s development from a promising young actor to a company with even international renown is exceptionally strong. Three of Aivan’s four founding members, Jämsén, Mäkelä, and Sysiö, still participate in the operations.

Korvaa is an experimental science collaboration that explores the design and functionalities of novel, bio-based, microbially grown materials. Created in collaboration between synbio scientists, industrial designers, artists and filmmakers, Korvaa documents the development of a headset made exclusively from microbially grown materials.

Aivan’s essential areas of business include brand and space design, product design, and strategic design. These often include graphic design, service design, and the development of identities and concepts, and Aivan has expertise in all of these. Customers include Finnish as well as foreign companies small and large.

Aivan’s expertise is related to boat design: its subsidiary Navia Design serves some of the world’s leading boat manufacturers. Navia has offices in Helsinki and Monaco, and its portfolio also includes the executive boat Kultaranta VIII of the President of the Republic of Finland.

Navia designed an e-boat for Q-yachts that re-defines the future of electric boating. Photo: Lauri Rotko

The jury was impressed with the team’s comprehensive touch on design. The agency has succeeded in convincing the highest management of companies that change is necessary, and in building several comprehensive brands which have achieved international success. The quality of the design has been seen as uniform and high, and its form as topical, the jury’s reasoning continues. Aivan has formed a design DNA of its own, and the internal design management of the agency is well managed and logical. Marketing has not been very visible, and it seems that work done well has created new opportunities. The agency’s good reputation has carried it onwards and towards growth.

Aivan has worked closely with Starship to create the design concept of the robot. This includes the development of the overall user experience and its physical design. The social acceptance of the robot has been a key driver in developing how the robot is perceived and how it behaves.

As design takes over new fields and areas, it is wonderful to see that well-implemented comprehensive design, including industrial design which had already been pronounced half-dead, is alive and kicking, the jury states.

The members of the Kaj Franck Design Prize jury of 2019 were CEO Petteri Kolinen from Design Forum Finland, Advocate Pentti Kivinen from Finnish Fair Fondation, CEO Ia Adlercreutz, Co-founders, Vice President and Professor Anna Valtonen from Aalto University, and designer Heikki Orvola.

Vieser Dot & Square drain covers bring more to the whole bathroom and home by taking a visible role with its original design.

The Kaj Franck Design Prize is one of the most significant design prizes in Finland, and it will be granted for the 28th time this year. The prize brings forth the central spirit and principles of designer Kaj Franck’s (1911–1989) oeuvre: high-quality, democratic and functional design that solves practical challenges and opens up new opportunities for companies excelling in design. A particular merit is if the rewarded designer brings beauty and joy to everyday life and enhances the quality of life. The prize sum is €10,000. The Kaj Franck Design Prize was established in 1992 by Design Forum Finland and it is funded by the Finnish Fair Foundation.

The Kaj Franck Design Prize exhibition opens to the public on Friday 8 November at Design Museum Gallery. 

Photo: Paavo Lehtonen

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