Thoughts

Why so much talk about the good handcraft part II?

April 26, 2015

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Over here Christian talked about what he called the ”rather highbrowed reasons” to Overgaard & Dyrman’s fascination with good crafts. Now for the down to earth version.

Christian is son of a craftsman, and Jasper’s dad has also been a handyman working on the old dairy, where the boys now have their showroom.

Also Christian is a black smith by education and has learned a lot about working with materials. He knows how they function and cooperate – probably in contrast to a lot of designers who are sitting at their desks drawing stuff, they hope will work in real life too.

”We are quite fascinated with the capacities of materials. We start off by thinking for instance ”what does wood do and how do we create the best possible solution with it?” instead of trying to force something on the material that it’s not capable of.”

Christian compares it to the fascination of 3D print today. With 3D print the base is the technology – what can you do with the technology of today?

”But at one point this will be accessible to everyone and will be obsolete. So we’re more fund of using the materials and their characteristics as a base.”

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Other than that there’s a genuine and perhaps a bit old-fashioned fascination of the everlasting materials. Materials like leather, wood and steel.

”You can create something really exquisite. Not something modern, but something really really good.”

Lastly the fascination of the good handcraft is also a reaction to the buy-and-throw-away-lifestyle. Christian and Jasper make expensive products. Not because that’s what they want to do, but because what they make become expensive. Also this means that they don’t expect people to come back and buy their products. Obviously they would want people to come back to buy more of their products, but not because they break. Because of exactly the opposite.

”Hopefully they will have them all their life. And that’s wonderful. Maybe they can even pass them on through generations.”

But is that a business model, you might think?

Christian brings up an anecdote. An anecdote about the light bulb. It’s from a documentary that everybody has seen. Apparently. But I haven’t.

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Anyway, the main point is that you can actually create light bulbs, which will last for 80 years. But of you do that, you can’t sell enough to make a business. So you design them to stop working after a while. Just like you, allegedly, do with cellphones and computers. Everything crashes once the warranty has expired.

”But we don’t want to do that. That’s not what we have based our business on. I don’t think it’ll end us. You’ll just have to constantly keep making good products. And then you’ll have to try to make things that are timeless. You don’t know if you are doing it, but you can try. And as long as you don’t base your products on trends, I guess the chance to be timeless gets bigger.”

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