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When art becomes part of the company DNA

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Being shown around at PJM headquarters in Faarevejle visitors are struck by the number of original paintings on walls everywhere, from canteen to production halls.The message from PJM founder Poul Johansen still resonates: Opening your mind to art is opening your mind to innovation.

In this blog post: PJM may be one of the most decorated production facilities in Denmark with
125 pieces of original paintings and sculptures installed all over the company’s 9000 square meters. Read the story behind the unique approach to art investment, which still has an impact on company culture.

Meeting a client or supplier for the first time over lunch you can always start the conversation with remarks about the weather. But at PJM, visitors often do something different.

They comment on a painting by the well-known Danish artist, Leif Sylvester Petersen, on display in the circular company canteen. It shows a woman holding a baby in a slightly awkward position and is humorously titled: Where should I put him?


With art as an entry point, communication between business partners and colleagues goes further than politeness. The dialogue settles on something creative and different - which are also key words in PJM automation solutions.

Meaningful conversation

The founder of PJM, Poul Johansen, wanted to give people something to think about, states his daughter, Lis Johansen.

“The paintings and sculptures give us the possibility of a meaningful conversation, and he virtually built creativity into the production facilities. I think the impact of my father’s investment in art is quite large. His focus on art went hand in hand with a great talent for business as well as finding the right technical solutions for companies like LEGO, Novo Nordisk and Danfoss,” she says.

Lis Johansen is a board member of The Poul Johansen Foundation which as a proof of the continuing involvement in art regularly funds young and upcoming artists and art events all over Denmark.

She was formerly employed at PJM and recalls the reaction when the paintings were once removed to be part of an exhibition:

The empty walls made employees feel sort of homeless and the company quickly borrowed substitute paintings from a local artist to fill out the blank spaces in the canteen in the meantime.

History behind

The story begins in the 1970s with Poul Johansen’s personal passion for art. He and his wife Vuokko, an artist herself, became committed to supporting local culture in the region of Odsherred which, like Skagen, has a community of artists, “Odsherredsmalerne”. A lot of paintings and sculptures were acquired during the years.

One of the local artists, Ole Finding, painted a portrait of Poul Johansen titled Machinery – man and nature.

The portrait was a gift from Vuokko to the company, here pictured with the present CEO of PJM, Benny Smith.


The newest acquirement is a series of ballet-sceneries by the Danish artist Ingrid Bugge, created exclusively for Machine Hall number 4. She followed the Royal Danish Ballet with her camera and produced visual impressions inspired by lightning techniques from the renaissance.


At the entrance you are met with a 60-meter-long ceramic frieze by Tue Poulsen, placed on the south eastern gable and picturing the level of the sea before the Lammefjord was dammed.


Outside the headquarters a large iron figure by Thomas Kadziola silently gazes at the nature surrounding the production halls.


Local support

The commitment to local art was underlined when Poul Johansen in 1991 became one of the founding fathers of Odsherred Kunstmuseum (now part of Museum Vestsjælland).

Support of the local community was reaffirmed recently when the foundation sponsored a mayor’s chain for Odsherred Municipality.


The three artists behind the mayor's chain received a proposal to create a story about Odsherred - and in true PJM spirit they had free rein in the artistic design and content.