The Estlander Prize is a distinction instituted by the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design / Design Forum Finland in recognition of significant achievement on behalf of Finnish design.
The prize is named after the Society’s founder, Professor Carl Gustaf Estlander (1834–1910), and is awarded in the spirit of his life’s work and Finnish design.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 Estlander Prize consists of a bronze medal. The criteria of this distinction underline efforts for promoting the uses of design in business and industry.
The prize was awarded for the first time in 2000, the 125th anniversary year of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design. The medal is designed by the artist Tero Laaksonen.
Bronze Estlander Medal 2019: Researcher Auli Suortti-Vuorio
Gold Estlander Medal 2017: Professor Yrjö Sotamaa
Gold Estlander Medal 2015: Design Manager, Professor Anne Stenros
Estlander Prize 2012: Founder and Director of Helsinki Design Week Kari Korkman
Silver Estlander Medal 2012: Professor Kalevi Ekman; Professor Raimo Nikkanen; Professor Markku Salimäki
Gold Estlander Medal 2012: MSc Techn Tapio Hintikka; Licentiate in Laws Harri Malmberg; Master of Laws Hannele Pohjola
Estlander Prize 2002: CEO Kirsti Paakkanen
Silver Estlander Medal 2002: Fennia Group / CEO Kari Elo; Finnish Fair Foundation / CEO Pentti Kivinen
Estlander Prize 2000: Journalist Carla Enbom; journalist Pekka Suhonen
Gold Estlander Medal 2000: Designer Timo Sarpaneva; designer Antti Nurmesniemi
Silver Estlander Medal 2000: President of the Republic Tarja Halonen; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Trade and Industry; Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Carl Gustaf Estlander (1834–1910) was a gifted son of a clergyman from Lapväärtti, who studied aesthetics at the University of Helsinki under Fredrik Cygnaeus whom he succeeded as professor. His academic achievements, at least in visual terms, included the first lectures in art history ever given in Helsinki at a time when there was still no regular instruction in the subject. Estlander was also the author of the first work on Western art to be published in Finland. Although Estlander’s tastes in art may have remained outmoded by the standards of the late 19th century, he had an active interest in human achievement and productivity, and the new industries of the period.
Estlander’s interest in modern applied arts was pedagogically oriented. He wanted to raise applied art to the sphere of civilized pursuits, to improve the tastes of craftsmen on the one hand, and the status of applied art among the arts, on the other.
Carl Gustaf Estlander became involved in many pursuits. He established the Helsingfors Dagblad newspaper, which was very influential in its day, followed by the respected journal Finsk Tidskrift, but he preferred to remain apart from boards and chairmanships. The Ateneum building in the centre of Helsinki was his most ambitious project, and was realized as planned. Owing to Estlander’s own efforts, the applied arts were given slightly more space in the Ateneum than the visual arts. For many years, the Ateneum in Helsinki was a leading centre of the visual and applied arts in Finland.