Project Description

PRIMI – extreme user innovation

Together with the National Museum of Denmark and the National Gallery of Denmark, Blue Skies designed a consortium-led innovation project to explore innovation in plastics. The project was an interdisciplinary cooperative effort between artists, designers, art historians and researchers from the plastics industry.

The research project charted and utilised the extreme use of plastic materials by artists and designers for the purpose of spurring innovation and growth in art and design, the plastics industry and museum conservation work.

Visual artists embody the expression extreme users as it pertains to the use of materials in the creation of their works. Using methods that push beyond boundaries, artists working in nearly all artistic media have consistently created a breeding ground for inventions that have improved the use of materials with respect to quality, aesthetics, usability and durability.  Over the course of the last 50 years, plastics have increasingly featured among artists’ choices of materials, leading to untraditional and innovative methods in the use of various types of plastic materials.

PRIMI (Plastics Research and Innovation for Museums and Industry) bridged the humanities and the natural sciences, serving as a partner between the plastics industry, artists, designers, researchers and art curators. The project was based on interdisciplinary research into a new, productive form of user innovation focusing on the artists’ ability to rethink and process plastic materials in a radically different way. Drawing heavily on experience with artists’ work and museums’ preservation of artworks, PRIMI aimed to contribute expertise and innovation to both scientific research and the preservation of our artistic heritage, thereby generating growth in the cultural and experience economy.

Focus on sustainability
PRIMI focused primarily on the durability of plastic materials. Despite positive results over the last several years of plastics research, the degeneration of plastics is still relatively fast. This problem is also well known to museum conservators working to preserve art. The art works that most urgently and quickly need preservation measures are works of a newer date that contain – or exclusively consist of – plastic materials. For the very same reason, museum conservators have a unique brand of expertise, as they have been documenting the aging processes in plastic materials to a much greater degree and over a much longer period than artists and the plastics industry. Working on the basis of experience gained by the plastics industry, artists and art conservators, PRIMI developed and tested plastic materials to create new expertise and new methods to improve the durability and preservation potential of plastic materials.