Introduction | Næstved Museum



An exhibition on crafts and technology

In the exhibition “Pimp Your Ride” the main focus is on the link between craft-work and technology. Items of technology characterized by the artistic work techniques used throughout their manufacturing processes.

In spite of the fact that it is now possible to produce most everyday objects using machines, this does not seem to be what the consumer wants. The puzzlement of this observation has been the basis of the exhibition. When flipping through pages of interior design magazines, looking over the range of do-it-yourself television shows, or surfing web platforms for new hopeful designers, what catches your eye is not mechanical looks or streamlined designs. On the contrary, the machine-made objects, which we surround ourselves with, such as lamps, cell phones, computers and even means of transportation, are often added an element of something handmade, making the cold, mechanical products warmer and more personal. We have come to a point where we more or less take digital products and offers for granted. Due to this, it has now become possible to break new ground in the design process.

By the end of the 17th century, electric everyday-products gained ground within people’s personal lives and it seemed most natural to develop further on the design traditions which were already established. An example of this is the first production of electric lamps, which looked very similar to kerosene lamps. This was a safe move into the scene of modern lightning, as even the form was primarily hand-made. This was a condition of the production, as there were no other options but to mould the items by hand. Until it became possible to produce these items using machines, this was how it was done.

Today, the addition of craftsmanship to technological design is an option. Designers and manufacturers pair up craft-work with technology because it is modern, it brings certain aesthetic qualities to the design and because it is a fun and challenging thing to do. We see this unfolding amongst larger established design-brands; with individual designers and with the do-it-yourself crowd, who experiments with what is technically and craftsman-wise possible.

The exhibition is divided into different themes, binding the individual design products together: tradition vs. renewal, craft-work as storytelling, the sensuous technology, slow living, customizing and game changers. Many of the items shown in the exhibition are foreign and part of a global tendency reflected in the thematic headlines.

The additional time it takes to manufacture a handmade design is an expression of a need to have time and energy to become immersed in the process. This is something which designers, as well as regular people, desire to have. While some young women join knitting-clubs, others pass their time digging out vinyl records, or spend a day at a Makerspace-workshop. Slow Living, a retro-nostalgic tendency celebrating old virtues, is a tendency which many of the exhibited items qualify for. With playful wonder, designers longingly look back on the early days of industrialization, as they find inspiration in the aesthetics and techniques of machinery of the past. Simultaneously, Slow Living shows a desire to create a free-space in a stressful life.

In many cases, the exhibited items are so-called design-hybrids. Here, designers have combined seemingly incompatible items, techniques or materials, in new and surprising ways. The innovative designs makes us rethink our preconceived ideas of everyday-life designs. This may include sealskin lamps, computer-covers made of bike tubes or an electric guitar made of old cigar boxes.

While technology, by giving a helping push, can bring traditional crafts into new markets, it can also preserve the crafts. An example of this can be seen in the collaboration between the Danish design company Diffus Design and the Swiss embroidery company Forster Rohner. Together they have pushed traditional embroidery into a market of technological textiles. The Climate-dress shown in the exhibition is an example of design which critiques society. The design critiques and questions topics such as overconsumption, pollution and other problems created by society.

The title of the exhibition was inspired by the American reality television show “Pimp My Ride”, which was shown internationally on MTV from 2006. The show, which was one of the most popular programmes on the MTV network, showed how an old car could get ‘pimped’ and personalized using spare parts, accessories and decorations, based on the owners likes and wishes. Likewise, many of the items displayed in the exhibition has been added something extra, been personalized and supports the idea that through interaction, the consumer is able to build on his or her personal identity.  In particular, this applies to the custom-made Yamaha motorcycle, made by the Danish company Wrenchmonkees. Visually, the bike is a statement of craftsmanship and elegant minimalism, with which you may feel a connection to, while riding the bike.

We would like to express our greatest appreciation to all of the companies and designers who are part of the exhibition and who have also provided us with artwork for the catalogue. An additional big thank you to the exhibition-assistant Trine Lykkebak Larsen, and to Stine Spandet Haurum who has made textual contributions for the catalogue.