Visit Sweden Launches the World’s First Design Museum to Go

While museums lock their exhibits behind glass and closed doors, Visit Sweden decided to put theirs in a backpack, and send them on a journey. A creative initiative by Sweden’s official tourism board, Swedish Design Museum to Go is the world’s first portable exhibition, allowing visitors to explore Sweden through design. The exhibition has certainly struck a chord, as it’s almost completely booked up in the first week of the launch.

So, how does it work? Swedish design lies at the very heart of the experience and with it, the typical Scandinavian appreciation for functionality and aesthetics. The concept is centered around a trusty backpack – one you’ve likely used on your travels – filled with carefully curated objects representing Swedish design, handpicked by local curators. The backpack, designed by the iconic Sandqvist, can be booked online and picked up at four locations, in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, and Umeå. The contents represent the creative industry of each area.

Swedish Design Museum To Go
Swedish Design to Go: East is curated by Helin Honung and Dimen Abdulla. The duo’s ambition is to bring diversity to fashion. The contents of the backpack are designed to explore Stockholm and its surroundings through the prism of nature and sustainability.

Swedish Design Museum To Go
North is ready for a pick up in Umeå. Curated by Linnéa Therese Dimitriou, the Creative Director at Umeå University’s Science Centre, the objects in the backpack are a reflection of her innate curiosity and make references to the Sami culture.

As I’m sure you’ll agree, design, much like art or music, is shaped by the values and experiences of its creators and, in this case, is heavily influenced by the sense of place. Hence, the ‘Museum to Go’ isn’t just about exploring Sweden through design – it helps navigate the cultural nuances shaping the Swedish psyche.

Wonder how? Wrap yourself up in a towel by the sustainable brand Noy Road and dry off the winter chill after an ice bath in Stockholm’s Hellasgården. Here, the slippery rock will lead you straight to the warm wood of the sauna, an experience I often compare to meditation, because of how calming and relaxing it feels. Don’t forget the Delta wash bag and Iris Hantverk’s body brush, made according to the old Swedish traditions. Nature is an integral part of the life in Sweden, the connection between the deep woods and cold seas inevitably translated into art and design. I’m not talking about fancy paintings hanging on the gallery walls, but the everyday objects found at Swedish homes. The Design Museum to Go has certainly built on this connection, bringing visitors closer to the Swedish culture by exploring the connection to nature through everyday aesthetics.

When exploring Umeå, where Northern lights roam the sky,  you may want to pin the silver Risku brooch to your jacket, designed and made in the Sami tradition, and reminisce the history of the area. In Gothenburg, the Swedish Design Museum to Go will set you on the search of the best fika spots in Icebug’s famously comfortable shoes; and in Malmö, the capital of southern Sweden, you’ll be encouraged to get creative with hand-sculpted crayons by Andréason & Leibel.

Swedish Design Museum to Go is available for bookings until the end of May, but the spaces are filling up fast so make sure to grab yours! The backpack needs to be pre-booked online, and can travel with you anywhere in the country, providing, of course, that it makes a safe return to the pickup point. I’m especially fascinated by the contents of the Umeå backpack – which one would you pick?

Written by A Girl Who Travels


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