Design Forum Finland's Young Designer of the Year prize was announced on Thursday, 8 May 2008. Established in the 125th anniversary year (2000) of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design maintaining Design Forum Finland, the prize is now being issued for the seventh time.
The recipients of the prize for 2008 are the ceramist Nathalie Lahdenmaki (born 1974) and the furniture and fashion designer Naoto Niidome (born 1974), who will share the prize sum of 5,000 Euros. The work of both designers reveals at the same time sensitivity and strength, together with a refined sense of material and form.
Nathalie Lahdenmaki graduated in 1999 as Master of Arts in ceramic and glass design from the University of Art and Design Helsinki, where she has been a lecturer since 2002. Lahdenmaki is a freelance designer who has won prizes at the esteemed Mino ceramics competition in Japan in 1998 and 2005, among other events. She has also received the Design+ award of the Frankfurt Fair. Lahdenmaki has designed ceramics for Iittala companies in Finland. Her studio work is characterized by thin-walled porcelain and red clay vessels of soft lines. Typical features of Lahdenmaki's ceramics are a sophisticated and skilled language of form and the use of translucent and colourful glazes.
"In industrial design I am particularly interested in the properties of the material: the soft texture of ceramics, its subtle colours and matte and glossy surfaces. I highly value everyday moments. Maybe what I am trying to do is to introduce some solace and consolation into daily life through everyday objects of beauty," notes Nathalie Lahdenmaki.
Furniture and fashion designer Naoto Niidome has studied spatial and furniture design as well as fashion design at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. In 2002 the Helsinki Fashion Fair chose him as its young designer of the year and he is currently on a three-year state grant for artists. As a spatial designer he has guided, among other projects, Bamboo House, which was on show at Design Forum in 2005. His work, both in fashion and furniture design, is characterized by timeless and aesthetically pleasing elegance, three-dimensionality, rich details and experiments with materials and techniques.
"It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and no doubt the beauty of forms can also be defined through the views of the designer. There is also a certain law-like regularity to beauty. It is not enough for an object to be regarded as beautiful; there is also need for people who understand its beauty. This is a condition for achieving recognition," says designer Naoto Niidome.
The jury of the Young Designer of the Year prize noted in its decision the works of Nathalie Lahdenmaki and Naoto Niidome are characterized by a subtle approach, profound soulfulness, and original and surprising design. Lahdenmaki and Niidome have worked for well-known Finnish companies such as Iittala and Marimekko. Both designers are also half-Finnish: Lahdenmaki is Finnish-French and Niidome is Finnish-Japanese. Their works express in a fresh manner the tradition of Finnish design: clarity and purity of line. The jury of the Young Designer of the Year prize for 2008 included designer Harri Koskinen, professor Raimo Nikkanen of the University of Art and Design Helsinki, curator Jukka Savolainen of Design Museum, designer Ilkka Suppanen and CEO Mikko Kalhama of Design Forum Finland.
Young Designer of the Year 2008, 9 May -1 June 2008
Space2, Design Forum Finland, Erottajankatu 7, Helsinki
Mon.- Fri. 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun. Noon - 6 p.m.