Ph.D; Professor


Research Interests

design thinking; design strategies and policies; design management


Academic and Social Positions

2001-2007  CUMULUS  President

2000-2010  Board of the Art and Design City Helsinki ADC  Chairman

2000-2010  Round Table of Design in Finland  Member

1997-2003  the Finnish Council of University Rectors  Vice-President

1996-2009  the Foundation of the Finnish Institute in Japan Chairman

1995-1999  Finnish Information Society Forum  Chairman

Steering Group of the Danish Center for Design Research  member

External Review Committee of Tsinghua University  member

the International Advisory Board of the Austrian Program for Arts-based Research PEEK (Austrian Science Foundation)  member

Helsinki World Design Capital 2012 Delegation  member

the Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation  Chairman

the Japan-Finland Design Association in Finland  Chairman

the Advisory Boards of the Finnish Cultural Institutes in Rome and Madrid  board member

the Finnish-Swedish Academy of Industrial Design  founding member

Tongji University College of Design and Innovation  Advisory Dean

the Radical Design Week Association  Chairman

Asia Design Journal  member of editorial board

All Design Magazine  member of editorial board

She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation  member of editorial board 


Education Background

2013  School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University  Honorary Doctorate

2004  Estonian Academy of Arts  Honorary Doctorate

1966-1969  University of Art and Design Helsinki  M.A. in Interior Architecture and Furniture Design


Work Experience

2010-2013  Tongji University Sino-Finnish Center   Executive Vice President

2008-present  Nottingham Trent University  Visiting Professor

1986-2008  TAIK (University of Art and Design Helsinki)  President

1969-present  Sotamaa Design Ltd.  President



[1] Yrjo Sotamaa (2008). Kyoto Design Declaration
[2] Yrjo Sotamaa (2002). The Economic Autonomy of the Finnish University. Finnish University Rector Council.
[3] Yrjo Sotamaa (2002). Quality in Focus. Finnish University Rector Council.
[4] Yrjo Sotamaa (2002). Art is Opportunities. Finnish Ministry of Education.
[5] Yrjo Sotamaa (2001). Ateneum Maskerad, Forms and Transformations of Finnish Design, University of Art and Design.
[6] Yrjo Sotamaa (2000). Design 2005! Government Decision-in-Principle on Finnish Design Policy. Finnish Ministry of Education.



[1] 1994-1996 Varde
Varde was produced by six major Nordic Design Universities with the support of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Over 300 students of the six schools were addressing the future challenges of the world and producing visions of the future through their works. The exhibition was first presented in the Royal College of Art in London and toured around the world in 1994-1996 in Rome, Berlin, Budapest, Barcelona, Sapporo, Taipei, Seoul, Linz and Helsinki.

[2] 2003-2004 Q-Designing the Quietnes
Q-Designing the Quietness was a major event of the Feel Finland program in Japan in 2003 and was first presented in the Living Design Center Ozone in Tokyo and later in 2004 in Fiskars Design Village, Finland.


Honor and Awards

2014  Friendship Award of P. R. of China

2013  Finnish Design Lifetime Achievement Award

2013  Honorary Doctorate granted by School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University

2013  the Person of the Year by Shanghai the City of Design 2013

2011  Shanghai Municipality Magnolia Award

2011  Medal of the Helsinki University of Technology

2010  the Lifetime Achievement Award by Cumulus Association

2007  the Prix Met de Penninghen granted by Ecole Superiéure d´Arts Graphiques et d´Architecture Interieure-Design Esag-Penninghen 

2006  Sign of Honor of the Latvian Academy of Arts

2004  Honorary Doctorate granted by Estonian Academy of Arts

2003  Albert Gebhard Medal of the Graphic Designers Association (Finland)

2000  Most Beautiful Book of the Year 2000

1999  MTV3 Finland Culture Prize




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College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University