Archive of Design Forum Finland

The archive of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design is an extensive and varied comprehensive archive of Finnish design and art industry. It contains documents from the beginning of the 1870s up to 2013 that relate to the operations of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design / Design Forum Finland.

Due to the shared history, the society’s archive also contains a lot of materials, beginning from the 1870s, related to the history of the predecessors of Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the art schools Veistokoulu, Taideteollisuuskeskuskoulu and Taideteollinen Oppilaitos. For administrative purposes, the Taideteollisuusmuseo (now Design Museum) was under the society from 1875 to 1989 and therefore the archive also illuminates the museum’s history.

The archive also contains documents of the hundreds of domestic and foreign exhibitions that the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design has held. The society organised Finland’s participation in the Triennale di Milano from the 1950s to the 1990s. Nordic cooperation has been important since the 1940s. Together with the other Nordic countries, the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design held an extensive Design in Scandinavia touring exhibition in the United States and Canada from 1954 to 1957 and also in Australia from 1968 to 1969. Due to successful exhibitions and the prizes won and attention gained from the Triennale di Milano, Finnish design had its international breakthrough and the term Finnish Design was born.

The older archive of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design has been organised in two batches, at the beginning of the 1970s and also from 1983 to 1984. Now the archive of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design / Design Forum Finland has been organised from 1978 to around 2013. The archive contains correspondence, documents, minutes and materials related to exhibitions, competitions, prizes and different projects, as well as annual reports and newspaper cuttings. The archive’s scope is 360 archive units.

From 1978 to 2013, many changes occurred in the society’s operations. The Taideteollisuusmuseo museum was reopened to the public in 1979 and the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design organised the expansive Suomi muotoilee exhibition from 1979 to 1998. Design Forum was founded in 1987 to promote industrial design, and since the 1991 organisational change the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design has maintained the operations of Design Forum Finland. In the same year, the society had their own exhibition space in Helsinki. From the 1970s to the beginning of the 2000s, the society continued to organise international touring exhibitions in Europe, America, and Asia.

In 2004, Design Forum Finland moved into a new address in Erottajankatu 7. Due to the move, Design Forum Shop’s spaces grew bigger. Design Forum Finland also helped create the surrounding Design District Helsinki.  2005 was the year of design and Design Forum Finland acted as its host.

The operations of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design also cover competitions and prizes: Fennia Prize competition (called Pro Finnish Design from 1990 to 2001), the Kaj Franck Design Prize (1992–), Young Designer of the Year (2000–) and the Estlander Prize (2000–).

The slide archive of Design Forum Finland was sorted and digitised at the beginning of 2019. There are about 300 digitised photographs and they primarily relate to the exhibitions of the 1990s. The older slide archive of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design and the black and white photographs were transferred to the Design Museum in the mid-1980s.

The archive of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design also contains a lot of newspaper clippings on the history of design from c. 1951 to 2010. The archive is located in the Aalto University Archives in Otaniemi.

arkisto@aalto.fi

 

Treasures from the archives: The Finnish section at Triennale di Milano in 1954. Photo: Pietinen