The Prize of the year 2000:
The Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize for the year 2000 has been awarded to the Norwegian designer, Peter Opsvik. He has been awarded the prize for his pioneering, movable, variable furniture and because his playful, daring and deeply humane perspective has constantly succeeded in enlivening the ergonomics and aesthetics of long-term sitting.
Long-term sitting, frequently in static positions, has been something of a curse for people in modern times. The car, TV and the computer are some of the inventions which have changed our lifestyle dramatically during the 20’th century, and have bound us to long-term sitting which the human body was never deigned for. The consequences of increased inactivity and static loading make themselves ever more apparent in the form of obesity and back problems.
It is in this perspective that we should view Peter Opsvik’s work. Based on the motto that ”the best seating position is always the next one”, he has created a number of chairs which stimulate varying seating positions and movement; always creating and carefully considered, but too provocative for some people. It stated with Tripp Trapp (1972), the legendary child seat, the saddle chair plus a number of sensational variants of the revolutionary Balans design. During the nineties, the focus has been on the rocking and hanging chairs of popular culture, re-packaged in new, smart re-interpretations.
Almost everything he has done has turned traditional sating concepts upside down. The furniture has strong shapes and leaves nobody indifferent. They seldom conform to what we expect from sophisticated Scandinavian furniture design and in cases where one-sided criticism has focused on traditional aesthetic values only attract the viewer’s eye is foreign to Peter Opsvik. His ambition is to engage more senses, to cross borders.
As with many other Nordic designers who put ergonomics in the front seat during the 1970’s, Opsvik’s design has been refined and perfected as years pass. In 1993 he released a new, more flexible and considerably more elegant variant of the Tripp Trapp child seat. His range of hanging pendulum seats has been inspired by Mexican Indian culture, with its strong sculptural expression. His interest for other art forms has become even more apparent in the current range of cabinets and so called “sound pictures”, which balance on the borders between visual arts, utility goods respectively musical instruments. And it is natural for a furniture designer with an industrial design background and a documented interest in movement to design a car as well. In Peter Opsvik’s case, it is solar-powered, of course, and yellow, with a shell-shaped solar panel as a shield, a clear graphic expression which signals the designer’s message to his environment.
About the Prize: 
The Torsten and Wanja Söderberg’s prize was inaugurated in 1992 by the Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Foundations, two of Sweden’s most important donors to Sweden’s research and development. The prize currently amounts to SEK 500.000- It is administered by Röhsska Museum, to be annually awarded to an active Nordic designer or craft worker. In addition to the prize, the prize-winner will be given the opportunity of exhibiting his/her work in a separate exhibition at Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg 
Lasse Brünnström
Director, Röhsska Museum