The Platinum Egg 2008: Henrik Nygren.

He grew up in Visby in the 1960s with his three sisters and his parents, both schoolteachers. His grandfather was in charge of Gotland’s public road network, perhaps foreshadowing Henrik Nygren’s future successes in mapping out complex plans. He wasn’t being cute or clever when he told interviewers he had no formal training.... Which is to say, he didn’t get into either Berghs or Beckmans. Nevertheless he ended up becoming a popular teacher and lecturer at the latter school for two decades. He embarked on his career as a graphic designer in 1991, after a couple of brief, dubious stints at advertising agencies. He won a Golden Egg the very next year – appropriately enough for a visual identity for a pair of goldsmiths. This was to become something of a speciality, helping artists of every stripe identify their true character: architects, photographers, glass designers, dancers … not to mention small and medium-sized manufacturers of design products. Like none who had gone before, he worked cheekily with old, unfashionable printing methods, harnessing them to a thoroughly contemporary design temperament. He limited his colour palate, both for technical and aesthetic reasons. Advertising folk were impressed; some were envious. Explaining why he won the Platinum Egg, Anna Qvennerstedt wrote: “Where it would be easy to resort to naive or pandering approaches, you show us that there’s another way. It seems almost as if compromise doesn’t exist in your world.”

After the Platinum Egg: Henrik Nygren became one of just a few Swedish designers ever elected to the Alliance Graphique Internationale, AGI. This was not necessarily why he abandoned the old printing methods (it’s more accurate to say they abandoned him) to instead design spicily exquisite volumes on art and architecture for international prestige clients: MoMA, Serpentine, Gagosian, Zwirner, Phaidon, Birkhäuser, Zumthor. Perhaps inevitably, he eventually started initiating books about himself. First a mighty 900-page tome published by Orosdi-Back in 2014, later a more modest 30-year retrospective entitled Crossroads. Collaborations. Shortcomings. He wasn’t being cute or clever with the latter title, either.


More projects that Henrik Nygren contributed to.