2011 marks the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the designer Kaj Franck (1911-1989). He was a leading figure in Finnish design, influential in the field in his day and teaching several generations of designers. The Teema tableware and Kartio glassware designed by him are still to be found in almost all Finnish homes.
A working group was assembled for organizing the events of the Kaj Franck Centenary Year, with members from the Aalto University's School of Art and Design, the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo, Design Forum Finland, Design Museum and the Iittala Company. The planning also involved experts on the work of Kaj Franck.
The programme of the centenary began in January in conjunction with the 140th anniversary celebration of the Aalto University's School of Art and Design. This also included an exhibition on the school's long history at Design Museum in Helsinki. Design Museum's large Kaj Franck exhibition Universal Forms will be open from 15 June until 25 September 2011. This exhibition will include an extensive catalogue and a series of lectures and talks for the public. Another exhibition, B15 - Kaj Franck's students (June 15-August 14, 2011) will be produced in cooperation with Ornamo. Art glass by Kaj Franck is currently on display at the Finnish Glass Museum in Riihimaki (February 18-August 28, 2011).
In March, a book on the life of Franck, "Kaj & Franck - Designs and Impressions" was published by WSOY publishers, written by Paivi Jantunen. The book presents Franck through the recollections of his friends and colleagues. In honour of the centenary, Iittala issued a series of special products originally designed by Kaj Franck, including the celebrated Morning in Athens glass sculpture.
At its own centennial celebration on September 29, 2011, the Ornamo Association will award for the first time its Kaj Franck Scholarship. Kaj Franck was an honorary member of Ornamo, in which he was active in various capacities, and to which he bequeathed his estate. Around the time of Franck's birthday in November, the recipient of Design Forum Finland's Kaj Franck Design Prize of the centenary year will be announced and the prize exhibition will open to the public. Design Forum Finland will also publish a book analysing the significance of Kaj Franck's ideas from new perspectives. During the summer, Design Forum Shop will feature a special collection of items by previous prizewinners, including a digital presentation of the winners and a small yet expressive exhibition about Franck.