The purpose of the prize awarded by Design Forum Finland is to encourage young designers to carry on uncompromising and original work in design. The prize sum is 5,000 EUR and it includes an exhibition.
Reeta Ek (MA, graduated 2015) is a freelance designer living and working in Helsinki. She has created textile designs for companies such as Marimekko, Lapuan Kankurit, Nanso, and Samuji, among others. Typical of her designs are repetition and rhythm, born along with the creative working process and drawing by hand. Reeta Ek also does graphic design and illustrations.
What does the Young Designer's award mean to you?
- The prize was a complete surprise to me. I am really impressed and grateful for this recognition, especially since it is not possible to apply, but it is granted for the work done. This encourages my own work and style. I am particularly pleased that I am the first textile designer, to whom the prize is awarded. I believe that my colleagues too are happy about this, says Ek.
What do you think the award will give you as a textile artist?
- Maybe it gives more credibility. Textile design as a form of design may not always be noted. The prize brings reputation especially in Finland, but I believe that it can also be of importance internationally, since Finland is known for design. I hope it will also open up opportunities to focus more on creating new material and developing ideas.
The expertise of textile design is highlighted
Adjunct professor Maarit Salolainen of Aalto University is also delighted about the prize, which finally brings out the textile expertise behind Aalto University's highly acclaimed fashion expertise. In her opinion, the success needs both the elaborate textiles and a new type of pedagogy in textile design.
- It's amazing that the award came this time for a textile design and surface designer. Textile designer's skill also includes the ability of structural textile design, that is the design for woven or knitted fabrics. It is not enough just to be able to paint beautiful patterns, but it is essential to understand how to draft these images to stunning fabrics, Salolainen emphasizes.
Since 1999 Aalto University has been training commercial surface designers who understand marketing and sales in the PatternLab project. Reeta Ek is also a PatternLab alumni from 2012.
Strong expertise and original design
According to the prize jury, Reeta Ek is a fine example of a professional, creative young designer whose exposure and success in Finland has been based more on strong professional skill than an efficiently marketed designer brand. Reeta Ek has a unique and distinctive style, and her works combine intense sensitivity with a strong, articulate execution. She has been involved in various comebacks of Finnish brands, designing printed and woven patterns that have resonated with consumers and resulted in commercial success. Reeta Ek represents the common method of modern textile designers where independent work and various collaboration projects have a natural rotation. The works and visual identity of Ek form a very distinctive, fresh, timeless and lucid repertory.
The Young Designer of the Year prize was established in 2000 and it it awarded now for the 16th time.
YOUNG DESIGNER OF THE YEAR 2017, 7–16 September 2017
Espa Stage, Pohjoisesplanadi 1, Helsinki
Exhibition open Mon–Fri noon–6pm, Sat noon–4pm, Sun closed, free entrance