Risto Väätänen receives prestigious industrial design prize

Published Nov 20, 2003 11.00.00 +2 GMT

Risto Väätänen, Metso’s Head Designer, has been awarded the Kaj Franck Design Prize for 2003. The prize, bearing the name of the famous Finnish designer, comes with a prize sum of EUR 10,000. It is awarded by Design Forum Finland and the Finnish Fair Foundation with the objective of supporting a designer who has innovatively created high quality industrial products.

Risto Väätänen co-ordinates Metso Corporation’s design work. A new studio has just been built at Metso Paper Järvenpää for industrial designers, providing a good setting for the Metso Design Center. This will be the center for industrial design know-how, and a place of co-operation, learning and development for designers and planners. The Design Center will also cooperate closely with designers, universities and research institutes outside the company.

Risto Väätänen began his career at the start of the 1970s as a personal assistant to Professor Kaj Franck at the industrial art department of the Arabia ceramics factory in Helsinki. Later on, he joined the Wärtsilä company, first to design printing machines and then paper finishing machines. Väätänen has become a design pioneer in Finland’s heavy metal industry.

The highlights of Väätänen’s career are related to the design of the new generation OptiConcept papermaking line at the end of the 1990s. The design of an entire line was an unprecedented challenge. The fruits of this work may be seen in paper mills all around the world. For Metso’s customers it is important that an efficient machine is also easy to operate and visually communicates its state-of-the-art technology.

The three golden principles of the pioneering industrial designer are cost efficiency, easy operation and appropriate appearance. Easy operation of the machine is an attribute that Metso will increasingly focus on in its future products. By appropriate appearance Väätänen means that the product should reflect its own era and values. In addition, it should look like a Metso product – reliable, efficient, high-quality. Streamlining, clarity, simplicity and economy are the foundations of Väätänen’s design philosophy.

The Risto Väätänen - Kaj Franck Design Prize Exhibition is open at the Design Forum in Helsinki (Sanoma House), during November 21, 2003 - January 11, 2004.