This prestigious prize was initiated in December 1951 by Frederik Lunning, Danish‐born businessman and owner of the Georg Jensen Inc. store on 5th Avenue, New York. This successful showcase for Danish porcelain and glass had been established in 1924 but, with the outbreak of the Second World War, supplies were cut off. After the war the store's manager Kaj Dessau was sent by Lunning to source fresh merchandise in Scandinavia. Deeply impressed by the quality of work he saw, Dessau suggested the establishment of an award scheme for young Scandinavian designers. As a consequence Lunning initiated a biennial prize with $5,000 being awarded to desingers under 36 years of age whose careers would benefit from study abroad. The jury comprised representation by the leading design organizations in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland, as well as Lunning's nominees. Each award winner was to have an exhibition in Lunning's New York store at which the Prize would be presented. There was also a secondary reason for the initiation of the scheme—the promotion of Scandinavian design and increased markets for its products. The first prizewinners were Hans Wegner and Tapio Wirkkala, other early recipients including Jens Quistgard, Timo Sarpaneva, and Nanna Ditzel. The significance of the winners over the twenty years of the Prize is a testament to its contemporary and historical significance.
Subjects: Art & Architecture