Industrial designer, Artist Professor Hannu Kahonen (born 1948) has been chosen to receive the Kaj Franck Design Prize of 2009. Hannu Kahonen graduated in 1971 from the University of Art and Design Helsinki. He is a versatile expert in design, whose perspective ranges from the practical design work to national design policy. He has helped to develop the field through his work in national and international positions of trust. Hannu Kahonen has also written about design and has taught design at the university level.
"Design is no longer the creation and development of new models. Instead, it has become a notable competitive factor. At present it is difficult to find any significant innovations with reference to old concepts. Design today must take note of the environmental issues - the requirements of sustainable design and changing needs of people and a population that is ageing. Pure materials, ecological and service design solutions will stay important issues in the future", tells Hannu Kahonen.
Now awarded for the 18th time, the Kaj Franck Design Prize has achieved unreserved popularity among design professionals, the media and the public. The prize jury of 2009 consisted of CEO Pentti Kivinen of the Finnish Fair Foundation, Rector Helena Hyvonen of the University of Art and Design Helsinki, Professor and designer Heikki Orvola, designer and Kaj Franck expert Tauno Tarna, and CEO Mikko Kalhama of Design Forum Finland. According to the unanimous view of the prize jury, Hannu Kahonen's oeuvre reflects in a beautiful manner the industrial aesthetic, and its core ideas are knowledge of materials, the usability of products, their accessibility and recyclability. Through his own career of over thirty years as an entrepreneur in design, Hannu Kahonen has become widely familiar with the needs of business making use of design. Especially in recent years, Kahonen has concentrated on material-based product development and environmental issues.
Instituted in 1992, the Kaj Franck Design Prize maintains the heritage of Kaj Franck (1911-89), who was known as the "conscience of Finnish design". The prize sum of EUR 10,000 is donated by the Finnish Fair Foundation. The prize includes a medal designed by Tapio Junno and an exhibition opening at Design Forum on 29 October 2009. A catalogue on Hannu Kahonen will appear in connection with the exhibition. Previous recipients of the prize represent a wide range of leading achievements in Finnish design in the areas of furniture, fashion and textile design, ceramics, glass and industrial design.
Photo: Liisa Valonen