The Kaj Franck Design Prize of 2010 has been awarded to the artist and fashion designer Marja Suna. An accomplished designer, she has made her mark on design and the Finnish fashion industry for over five decades. In recent years, she has come to be known for jewellery designed by her for the Kalevala Koru jewelry company. She has also taught footwear and fashion design in addition to actively participating in professional organizations in the design sector and writing for newspapers, magazines and other publications. Marja Suna received the Finnish State Prize of Design in 1979, and in 1998 she was given the distinction of Fashion Designer of the Year. In 2005, Suna was invited to become an honorary member of the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo and in 2010 she became honorary member of the School of Art and Design of the Aalto University.
Marja Suna's career encompasses mass-produced and unique, one-off work. She is a pioneer and an exemplary figure in the fashion industry, having also worked in the footwear and jewellery sectors and even designing buttons. In her work, Marja Suna has known how to adapt to the terms of industrial manufacturing. She is one of the designers whose mark has even been of decisive importance for many leading Finnish companies. At present, her output has oriented towards art, in paper, precious metals and glass, and her work has been on show in exhibitions both in Finland and around the world.
The prize jury noted that beauty is a characteristic feature of the products designed by Marja Suna. "In keeping with established Finnish custom, functionality is always to be found in her works, but never at the cost of beauty. Also joy - whether abundant or restrained - is characteristic of her oeuvre. Where functional properties were prominent in the products of Marja Suna's early years, her present work has more of an artistic focus, reflecting her inexhaustible imagination and energy."
Presently awarded for the 19th time, the Kaj Franck Design Prize has become unequivocally accepted and esteemed among design professionals, the media and the public. The members of this year's prize jury were: CEO Pentti Kivinen of the Finnish Fair Foundation; Dean Helena Hyvönen of the School of Art and Design of the Aalto University; designer, Professor Heikki Orvola; Kaj Franck expert, designer Tauno Tarna; and CEO Mikko Kalhama of Design Forum Finland.
Instituted in 1992, the Kaj Franck Design Prize maintains the legacy of Kaj Franck (1911 -1989), known as the "Conscience of Finnish Design". The prize sum of EUR10,000 is donated by the Finnish Fair Foundation. The prize also includes a medal designed by Tapio Junno and an exhibition opening at Design Forum Finland on 26 November 2010 along with a published catalogue. The recipients of the Kaj Franck Design Prize represent a wide range of leading achievements in Finnish design in areas such as furniture, fashion, textiles, ceramics, glass and industrial design.