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Major Exhibition of Droog Design at Museum of Arts & Design
Milano 2001, Droog Design for Picus / Jan Konings.

NEW YORK.- For over a decade, the Droog Design collective has set forth innovative and inspired designs for everyday objects using low-cost, industrial, or recycled materials. Comprising more than 160 iconic designs, simply droog, 10 + 3 years of creating innovation and discussion reveals the playfulness, significance, humor, and social meaning imbued in the work of this international design platform.

The exhibition, which has toured throughout Europe and South America since its Munich premiere in 2004, will make its sole North American presentation at the Museum of Arts & Design from September 21, 2006, through January 14, 2007. This presentation will feature products and prototypes created by Droog from its founding in 1993 through 2005, with a significant number of new designs seen in the United States for the first time.

“Our Museum explores the materials and creative processes of contemporary artists, and Droog celebrates this intersection from a unique design perspective,” said Holly Hotchner, director, Museum of Arts & Design. “Droog considers process as both a physical and conceptual action, and embraces those materials that we as a society often overlook or discard. simply droog is a testament to how the everyday can be rearranged into a finished, enlightened form.”

Droog Design was established in the Netherlands in 1993 by designer Gijs Bakker and art historian Renny Ramakers as a platform for contemporary Dutch design. Under the guidance of Bakker and Ramakers, Droog soon expanded its scope to embrace the work of an international network of contemporary designers. The Dutch word for “dry,” as in “dry wit,” and unadorned or simple, droog refers both to the wry sense of humor that characterizes the designs and to the practicality and simplicity of their objects. In order to be considered a Droog Design, the object must embody an original idea, a clear concept, and a practical and simple end product. In addition, Droog objects often offer both political and social commentary, both in the designs themselves and the processes through which they are created.

“Droog is not a style; it is a mentality and an approach to the creative process. If a design engages and examines existing materials with the goal of creating a practical, simple object—and if the creative concept is both revelatory and inspirational—we can then call that object ‘Droog,’” said Ramakers, director of Droog Design. “A Droog object may be witty or politically subversive or neither, and yet the process of creating a Droog design never ceases to offer sharp commentary on how humans interact with each other and our environment.”

The Exhibition

Organized by Droog with exhibition design by Studio Jurgen Bey, simply droog reflects the collective’s design philosophy and belief in reuse and recycling. A 25-foot tower of shipping crates and Droog products will rise through the Museum’s atrium, chronicling the history of Droog’s projects and commissions as it ascends. The tower, unique to MAD’s presentation, includes photographs, videos, drawings, models, prototypes, and finished products, all of which are mounted and displayed on the crates in which they were shipped.

The rest of the exhibition will integrate the designs thematically into eight different interior settings. Grey tape and black rubber silhouettes on the gallery floor replicate Dutch floor plans, including a summer house and a student residence, throughout which Droog furniture and objects are arranged and coupled with fictional inhabitants. Themes explored in this part of the exhibition include:

• Use It Again, presenting objects that propose a second life for worn-out, unfashionable products;
• Familiar – Not So Familiar, including common everyday objects in new contexts and functions, forcing a reconsideration of existing decorative practice;
• Open Design, examining the relationship between people and objects through products that require human interaction in order to function;
• Inevitable Ornament, exploring the inevitability of decoration as a consequence of the creative process;
• Simplicity, displaying objects that are simple in both construction and use without being austere;
• Irony, including Droog objects that offer both subtle and overt political and social commentary;
• Experience, featuring objects that engage and involve the viewer in an unforgettable encounter;
• Form Follows Process, studying objects whose productions result from a series of conditions instead of active choices.

Highlights of the exhibition include such seminal objects as Tejo Remy’s Rag Chair (1991), a chair made from used fabrics strapped together; Jurgen Bey’s Treetrunk bench (1999), in which bronze-cast chairbacks are inserted into a freshly cut tree trunk laid on its side; and Rody Graumans’ Chandelier “85 Lamps” (1993), a knotted bundle of eighty-five light bulbs suspended from the ceiling. Among the new products included in simply droog, 10 + 3 are Chris Kabel’s Parasol ‘Shady Lace’ (2004), a large parasol whose fabric design casts shadows of leaves and branches, and FRONT’s Wallpaper designed by Animals (2004), where intriguing and visually compelling wallpaper designs were created by rats, who gnawed holes and chewed unexpected patterns into the material.

simply droog, 10 + 3 years of creating innovation and discussion is realized at the Museum of Arts & Design with financial support from the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam.

A 311-page, soft-cover catalogue will accompany the exhibition with text in English. Titled simply droog, 10 + 3 years of creating innovation and discussion, the catalogue is edited by Renny Ramakers and Anneke Moors (updated 2006) and includes contributions by Aaron Betsky, Ole Bouman, Ed van Hinte, Ellen Lupton, Louise Schouwenberg, Marieke Sonneveld, Jaako van ‘t Spijker, and Gareth Williams.

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