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"simply droog: 10 + 1 years of avant-garde design from the Netherlands"
2004-03-18 until 2004-05-23
Haus der Kunst
Munich, , DE Germany

The design network, Droog Design, celebrates its tenth anniversary with the international exhibition, simply droog.10 + 1 years of avant-garde design from the Netherlands. A Droog Design restrospec-tive. The network’s history, products and projects through 2003 will be presented. The Haus der Kunst, the first venue of this traveling exhibition, offers an unusual framework because of its history and architecture. With the ‘exposing’ of the building, both inside and out, and the resulting architectural changes, all part of the ‘critical reconstruction’ begun under Chris Dercon, the exhibition has a particular effect.

The building’s perfect, cool and slick interior is in harmony with the meaning of the word droog, the quality of being practical and sober. On the other hand, a strong contrast exists vis-à-vis the ideal realization of these ideals, for droog also stands for dry humor and the philosophy of imbuing everyday objects with more soul, meaning and content.

However, Droog also confronts the issue of consumerism. It questions the nature of luxury, both in the material and immaterial context, for today luxury is no longer simply a material issue, but rather much more an intellectual challenge. Luxury today is a means of gaining attention, as well as one of gener-ating attentive observation, use and judgement. Luxury is a question of attention! Droog is luxury!

The exhibition consists of two parts, with the first part focusing on the history of Droog, told through textile installations, photographs, videos, drawings, models and finished products. A shop, with prod-ucts for sale and 'testing', comprises an important element of the exhibition. Ten thematic rooms build the second part of the exhibition, in which the visualization of the following Droog Themes is manifest: 'Use it again', 'Familiar – Not so Familiar', 'Open Concept', 'The inevitable Ornament', 'Simplicity', 'Irony', 'Tactility', 'Experience', 'Hybridization' and 'Form follows Process'. Each room has an individual atmos-phere and quality.

From the beginning, recyclability has been an important theme for Droog. In its early days, the design network examined products that were old, worn out, and old-fashioned, products that, for these or other reasons, no longer fit into their environment. The question that remained for Droog was why these products shouldn’t enjoy a second life. Objects such as the Rag Chair by Tejo Remy, the Talk-ing Coffee Machine by Eibert Draisma or the Lamp Do Reincarnate by Martí Guixé were the direct re-sults of such deliberations.

The theme room 'Familiar – Not so familiar' is a response to the observation that people tend to sur-round themselves with things that they love and know. However, with time, one’s attention for these things tends to diminish so that they become almost invisible and are no longer noticed. However, should these familiar objects be altered they would appear both familiar and new and unusual. The logical consequence Droog made was to combine these two qualities and to use the familiar in new ways. 'Familiar – Not so familiar' presents objects such as the Tree Truck Bench by Jurgen Bey, the Digital Cuckoo Clock, 'Nest', by Cynthia Hathaway and the Milk Bottle Lamp by Tejo Remy.

Interactive elements are a special feature of this exhibition. Furniture and products that can be tested and individually designed are on display for the visitor’s use. Further examples of such products are the wall lamps, Do Scratch, designed by Martí Guixé, which have been individually finished. You have to scratch into the varnished black surfaces through which light shines, giving each lamp a unique appearance and lighting effect. Design furnitures, such as the Rag Chair designed by Tejo Remy or the chair Private Rocking Chair by Martí Guixé can be tested in the exhibition.

The exhibition was designed by the Dutch designer, Jurgen Bey (b. 1965). His pragmatic approach is in keeping with the Droog Design philosophy, with his sober statement that a high-rise cannot function without an elevator, underlining this point. Bey designs interior spaces and products, develops designs for public spaces and applied art, and sees himself not just as a pragmatist but also as a conqueror who explores the world through its oddity and as someone with the mission to pose questions and create contacts between diverse elements.

At the invitation of Droog Design and Chris Dercon, the Munich stardesigner Konstantin Grcic will pre-sent his installation, White Noise, in the Haus der Kunst. Grcic has had a very emotional bond with Droog ever since he saw their first presentation in Milan. Grcic sees the form language of Droog De-sign, with its matter-of-factness, simplicity and unusual outlook, as an energy-loaded definition of contemporary design. According to Grcic, the design movement that emerged as a result of Droog’s initial presentation was "quite a tremor, whose after-effect will remain in our senses as designers forever, like White Noise, a soft whisper." He sees his installation, consisting of beer tables, as a per-sonal contribution to Droog: an interactive room, in which informations, books and videos about Droog are on display, a space in which people meet, communicate, make plans, share a drink, celebrate.

Rag Chair
Tejo Remy
rags, steel strips
60 x 60 x 110 cm
produced by Droog B.V.

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