DROOG | MORE THAN JUST A DESIGN STUDIO
Based in Amsterdam, Droog is an anti-disciplinary design studio, driven by the endless curiosity and know-how of its original founders, Renny Ramakers and Gijs Bakker. Ramakers’ background as an art and design critic, art historian, curator and lecturer paired perfectly with Bakker’s knowledge in industrial design and passion for good design. Droog literally means ‘dry’ in Dutch, and the design studio always ensure their serious work has a generous amount of humour in it, with the outcome always contributing in some way to society.
The pioneering influence of Droog is undeniable, with the design studio seeing their projects, objects and ideas inspire many other designers worldwide and altering our preconceptions of design thinking. Their highly conceptual approach is relatable and their modern designs respect (or work with) traditional processes, hence emphasising that Droog is a proudly a paradox, using this formula to create a new originality.
Droog began in 1993 when Ramakers and Bakker noticed a group of design graduates creating something with a new perspective, a fresh take on contemporary design. Using re-purposed materials their work told stories, had a playful air to them, and most importantly, celebrated the ‘imperfect’. Young Dutch designers Piet Hein Eek, Jurgen Bey, Tejo Remy, Hella Jongerius and Joris Laarman were all part of this new movement in Dutch design, contributing their original and innovative ideas to a group show put on by Ramakers. Each designer, in their own way, would combine a known element with a very known design, in a truly expecting and original way.
Droog have exhibited around the world, with works even collected by the MoMa in New York. Marcel Wanders’ well-renowned Knotted Chair now sits in the Pompidou in Paris. Since 2008, Bakker has left Droog to pursue his own work, but Droog continues to push boundaries with design and it’s possibilities, now also exploring its direct impact on social structures. With design’s strong impact on society there are endless possibilities for design’s potential to enhance everyday life.
Droog design continues to explore the paradox of the old and the new, the historical and the contemporary in somewhat of a way explaining society also.Tejo Remy: ‘You Can’t Lay Down Your Memory’ Chest of Drawers Made in 1991, is made of found drawers held together roughly by a belt (metal, paper, plastic, burlap, contact paper, and paint). The work has a strong visual impact and provocative intent.
Portrait of Renny Ramakers by Anneke Hymen.