Professor Yrjö Sotamaa is a design pedagogue of long standing and promotor of design research and education. He worked long as a teacher and Rector at the University of Art and Design Helsinki, which he strongly remodelled and developed. During his rectorship 1985–2008, the University increased its international operations and rose to the summit of the world's design schools. After the University of Art and Design Helsinki became part of the Aalto University, Sotamaa held the professorship of Design Innovation 2008–2010. Since then, he has also worked as professor at the Tongji University in China, among other positions.
The reasons for the Estlander Medal acknowledge Yrjö Sotamaa's attitude towards new ideas and new modes of thinking, which he has always been interested in and shared readily with others. He has open-mindedly renewed design research and studies and brought new forms of cooperation into education. Yrjö Sotamaa's contribution to the raising of new generations of designers is significant and deserves attention especially in the centenary year of Finland's independence.
The gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded to persons who have deepened the interaction of design culture with Finnish business and industry in significant ways. The criteria of this distinction underline efforts for promoting the uses of design in business and industry. The medal is designed by the artist Tero Laaksonen.
Photo: Pentti Sammallahti
Project Manager Laila Alanen
laila.alanen(a)designforum.fi, +358 (0)50 548 4114