Kaj Franck (1911-1989) was a Helsinki-born Finnish designer. Described as the conscience of Finnish design, he had a very clean, clear vision for his work, and a commitment to innovation and functionalism. After struggling through school as a youth, Frank became a renowned teacher of professional design in Finland for many years, where he was seen as an influential and prominent figure.
Kaj Franck first entered the tableware design world with Arabia, another Finnish company that at the time when Franck joined, created mostly ornamental ceramics. Franck was brought on board to start developing more functional items, and created a collection for Arabia that brought him great notoriety, and went on to be one of the bestselling collections Arabia has ever had. Later in his career, Kaj Franck joined forces with iittala, where he designed some of their best-selling collections, including Kartio glassware and Teema dinnerware.
During his long design career, Franck was awarded many international titles and prizes for his work, including the Lunning award in 1955, the Compasso d'Oro in 1957, and the Grand Prix of the Milan Triennale in 1954. Several of his award-winning pieces have been featured all around the world. Today, the Design Forum Finland awards a Kaj Franck Design Prize award to one individual designer or team of designers each year, whose work shows the spirit and style of Kaj Franck. In 2011, the Mint of Finland even released a collectors coin to mark the hundredth anniversary of his birth, with the "Kaj Franck and Industrial Art" theme. Franck's works with iittala continue to be bestsellers, for their functionality and timeless design.