Archive for June, 2010

Interview with Renny Ramakers by Yatzer

Posted:  June 30th 2010

Interview and text by Apostolos Mitsios for Yatzer.

Renny Ramakers - Droog

What can we say about Droog design, a company that since 1993 opens new paths to creativity and has produced some of the most iconic design pieces of the last decades? Some weeks ago Workshop-Dionisis Sotovikis and Mariolopoulos-Kanaginis Foundation for the Environmental Sciences presented at the Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece, a retrospective Droog exhibition called “Greek green greet” (June 4th – July 25th 2010), being the largest Droog exhibition in the world since 2007. Athens came closer to the design world and Renny Ramakers, the heart and soul of Droog, of course could not miss the event. Yatzer was there, eager to know all those little stories hidden behind a successful company that make the difference. Renny Ramakers talked to us in the most sincere way, offering one of the most interesting encounters we have ever had. Get ready to get inside the headquarters of one of the most significant design companies of all times!

First of all, Mrs. Ramakers, did you like the exhibition at the Benaki Museum?
It is fantastic the fact that you have made everything by yourselves, I only delivered some items, it is awesome! The organizers wanted more and more products, initially they had the fear that there would not be enough products to fill the space, but finally everything went perfect. It is always very interesting to see the way other people interpret your work. Sometimes I take a look at a certain piece and I say to myself “look, I hadn’t realized it looked so nice!”. It was also so pleasant to see prototypes that I hadn’t seen for a lot of time, for years, like the Cosy chair by SMAG that we had showed at Milan many years ago and I didn’t have the chance to see it again since then.

If Droog was a child, back in 93, which would be the references that would define you? Who would be your parents, who would be your brothers and who would be your heroes?
The father and mother of my company are me and my partner Gijs Bakker, who left us recently, so I would say we are divorced (laughs)! I do not think we have many brothers and sisters because we are quite unique. The source of inspiration is the designers themselves, the children of the company. As soon as we like something, we ask directly the designer to collaborate with us. The way the designers react to an original idea of ours often makes the project much bigger. We are inspired by the designers, but the designers are also inspired by us. It is all about collaboration! There is a retro alimentation open to surprises. If you have good designers, they bring the whole project to another level.

Who was the first designer that you have collaborated with?
Jurgen Bey is very inspiring for us, he has been with us since the beginning, before we even started. He and his partner Rianne Makkink in 1992, when I was organizing small exhibitions at that time, were designing our exhibitions, but the first product was of Marcel Wanders. In 1988, after Wanders graduation from the School of the Arts Arnhem, I bought a prototype of him and this became the first product of the company. His breakthrough to fame was a chair he made for us, the Knotted Chair (1996).

Could you say you are Marcel Wanders’ design mama?
Yes (laughs), but do not tell him!

Having in mind that we often define ourselves against something, against what did you define yourself at that time? Continue reading “Interview with Renny Ramakers by Yatzer” »


Q&A with Rami Farook

Posted:  June 5th 2010
Droog al Arab

Rami Farook, Jurgen Bey, Ahmad Angawi, Omran Al Owais

Rami Farook of traffic is our local partner for Droog al Arab, which we presented in Dubai on May 30th. We asked him a few questions after the presentation.

What motivated you to do this project?

I see design and art as social tools. I always aim to do something with design that is socially progressive, that brings about change.

What was it like to have the team visit you in Dubai?

This trip stood out because we were on a mission. We wanted to encounter as many different kinds of people as we could to try to understand Dubai. I don’t get a chance to meet these people normally.

Take for example the labour camp – the beauty of that situation is that we went to a normal camp and then a five star camp across the street, and we liked the normal one so much more. The five star camp was cleaner and had a television, but it felt corporate, as if it was cut out and pasted, giving it a similar identity crisis that Dubai is having now. The other one was run by the people, it was so much dirtier but they seemed happy.

It was also beautiful the way we ended the trip in the desert—to reflect, to make jokes. Went to a place that was so serene, we were so tired, but had also so much adrenaline.

Droog al Arab
Nadine Sterk and Saskia van Drimmelen

What kind of potential do you think the platform has?

For us to come out of Dubai with a digital hub is the legacy. The products all came out of collaboration, and then the platform makes it virtual.

What do you think of the on-line bartering concept?

The creative class can exchange ideas. Why should I pay for photography when I can pay for it with graphic design? We should let designers deal with whatever feels more comfortable and exchange with skills and knowledge.

Mark Blaisse considered the platform a metaphor for Dubai’s future. What do you think of this?

Exactly! But, it’s not even the future, it’s the present, the past in Dubai. Dubai has open eyes, they embrace everyone.

Do you think this project says something about the next generation of design?

For me, this is the next generation—the virtual trading of a design process. I see how my generation is different than my father’s. My father’s generation worked to survive and there was a lot of competition. And now we see smaller companies collaborating with one another.

Do hit!

Posted:  June 4th 2010

Here’s a video of Do hit featuring performance by designer Marijn van der Poll in his Eindhoven workshop. Available here.


We will miss you Tobias

Posted:  June 3rd 2010

Tobias Wong

We are very sorry to hear the news of the passing away of 35 year old New York based designer, Tobias Wong. We had the fortune of having him join our kick-off brainstorm at DS+R’s office on May 17th, as a member of the Serving NY project team.

More information on New York Timescore77 and designboom.


Tonight at Droog New York

Posted:  June 3rd 2010

Tonight we welcome the addition of Cleanup to our collection.

Thursday, June 3rd
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Droog New York


Cleanup is a soap formed in the shape of landmines to raise money for landmine removal and survivor assistance. 25% of the purchase price is donated to nonprofit organizations throughout the world that engage in removing landmines and assisting survivors. As the soap disappears, so do the landmines!

More images and info available here.


green greek greet by droog

Posted:  June 2nd 2010

We’re coming to Athens. The exhibition opening is tomorrow and a lecture by Renny Ramakers follows on Saturday.

June 4th – July 25th, 2010
Opening: Thursday June 3rd, 20:00
Benaki Museum, Building at 138 Pireos St., Athens, Greece

Workshop Dionisis Sotovikis and Mariolopoulos Kanaginis Foundation for the environmental sciences, in collaboration with the Benaki Museum, present the exhibition ‘greek green greet by droog’ at the Benaki Museum, Pireos St. Annexe, Athens, Greece, from June 4th until July 25th, 2010, with an opening event on Thursday, June 3rd at 20:00.

The exhibition ‘greek green greet by droog’ is the largest retrospective Droog exhibition in the world since 2007 and it will present Droog by exploring, investigating and discussing the concepts of recycle, re-use, recreate, reinvent, clarity of concept, memory and nostalgia. Our Greek partner since 2007, workshop’s purpose is to draw the attention of the general public in Greece, providing information about contemporary design with environmental concerns worldwide.

Design, Architecture and Sustainability Conference
featuring lecture by Renny Ramakers

Benaki Museum amphitheatre
Saturday, June 5th

Within the framework of the exhibition and on the occasion of the World Environment Day, Mariolopoulos-Kanaginis Foundation in collaboration with the Benaki Museum, organises a scientific one-day conference on ‘Design, Architecture and Sustainability’, which will take place at the amphitheatre of the Benaki Museum, Pireos Annexe, with invited speakers from academia and practice, from the fields of architecture and environmental design. There will be two sessions: ‘Sustainability in Architecture and the Built Environment’ and ‘Environmental Design in Architecture’. The event will begin at 10.30 on Saturday morning and will end at 15.00, with a closing speech and presentation of the exhibition ‘greek green greet by droog’ by Renny Ramakers, co-founder and director of Droog. The conference will be conducted in English.

Information for the one-day conference
+ 30 210 610.0.610
+ 30 210 362.3.861

About workshop
workshop is an animated entity, a vessel exploring the intersecting trajectories of architecture, art, design and construction that emerge from the dialectics of ideas and the processes leading to creation.

About the Mariolopoulos-Kanaginis Foundation
Mariolopoulos-Kanaginis Foundation for the Environmental Sciences was established in 1993 with the objective to develop and promote the sciences relative to the environment, as well as the study of human’s interaction with the environment and the cultural heritage of Greece.

About The Hellenic Institute of Architecture
The Hellenic Institute of Architecture pursues the development of architecture in Greece and is also interested in improving the legal framework of production, in protecting the environment and its relation to new building construction, as well as in preserving Greek architectural heritage, old as well as new.

Museum Opening Hours
Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday 10:00 – 18:00
Friday & Saturday 10:00 – 22:00
Monday & Tuesday CLOSED

Curated by: DIONISIS + KIRKI