The Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize
Between 1994 and 2018 the largest design prize in the world was given annually by the Röhsska Museum with funds from the Torsten Söderberg Foundation. The prize has aimed at further advance craft and design in the Nordic region.
A prize committee with the director of the Röhsska Museum as chair and with representatives from the five Nordic countries were tasked with following the developments of craft and design. The prize winner has received a solo exhibition at the museum and an award of SEK 1 million. The Icelandic designer Brynjar Sigurðarson was the last one to receive the prize in 2018.
The Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize was founded by Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg’s foundations and was awarded for the first time in 1994 on the centenary of Torsten Söderberg’s birth. The foundations were created in 1960 and belong to Sweden’s most important donors to the research and development of design. The Torsten Söderberg Foundation was the sole foundation behind the prize between 2014 and 2018.
About the prize
The prize money was 1 million SEK. Among the annual design awards where the award winner is chosen by a prize committee, the Torsten and Wanja Söderberg prize has been the largest in the world.
Close ties between the Söderberg family and the Röhsska Museum
Husband and wife, Torsten and Wanja Söderberg became members of Friends of the Röhsska Museum in 1938. Ten years later, in 1948 Torsten Söderberg became a member of the board and during the years 1950-60 he was the chairman, and so was his son Tomas Söderberg between 1992 and 2019. Torsten was also a member of the board at the Röhsska Museum.
The close connections between the Söderberg family and the Röhsska Museum were further strengthened when the Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize was established in 1994 to celebrate the centenary of Torsten Söderberg’s birth.
On the occasion of Tomas Söderberg’s death, the Foundation decided that the Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize of 2018 would be the final prize. Tomas Söderberg was deeply involved with the initiation of the prize, as well as, the prize committee and practical work around the prize and his spirit deeply affected it. The Icelandic designer Brynjar Sigurðarson was the 25th prize winner and the last one to receive the Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize.
The prize committee has been comprised of representatives from the five Nordic countries.
Prize committee 2018:
Anne-Louise Sommer; Adj. professor, museum director of Designmuseum Danmark, Copenhagen
Widar Halén; Director of the department for Design and Applied arts at Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo
Jukka Savolainen; Director of the Design Museum, Helsinki
Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir; Director of Design and Applied Art, Reykjavik
Nina Due; Chair of the prize committee and the director of the Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg
Designer and artist Brynjar Sigurðarson, Iceland, 2018
Light and furniture designer Daniel Rybakken, Norway, 2017
Designer Margrethe Odgaard, Denmark, 2016
Designer Ilkka Suppanen, Finland, 2015
Fashion designer Ann-Sofie Back, Sweden, 2014
Graphic designer Hjalti Karlsson, Iceland, 2013
Jewellery engineer Sigurd Bronger, Norway, 2012
Fashion designer Henrik Vibskov, Denmark, 2011
Design Studio Front, Sweden, 2010
Designer Harri Koskinen, Finland, 2009
Fashion designer Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, Iceland, 2008
Design group Norway Says: Torbjørn Anderssen, Andreas Engesvik and Espen Voll, Norway, 2007
Ceramicist and designer Ole Jensen, Denmark, 2006
The concept car Volvo YCC: Anna Rosén, Cynthia Charwick, Maria Uggla, Maria Widell Christiansen, Camilla Palmertz, Eva-Lisa Andersson, Elna Holmberg, Lena Ekelund and Tatiana Butovitsch Temm, Sweden, 2005
Jewellery artist Janna Syvänoja, Finland, 2004
Architect and designer Sigurður Gústafsson, Iceland, 2003
Graphic designer HC Ericson, Sweden, 2002
Industrial designer Björn Dahlström, Sweden, 2001
Designer Peter Opsvik, Norway, 2000
Writers Aðalsteinn Ingólfsson, Iceland; Kaj Kalin, Finland; John Vedel-Rieper, Denmark; Jorunn Veiteberg, Norway and Kerstin Wickman, Sweden, 1999
Textile artist Louise Sass, Denmark, 1998
Furniture designer Mats Theselius, Sweden, 1997
Designer Brita Flander, Finland, 1996
Jewellery artist Liv Blåvarp, Norway, 1995
Ceramicist Jane Reumert, Denmark, 1994
Image at the top: Collage of portraits go Torsten and Wanja Söderberg. Photomontage: Torsten Söderberg’s Foundation