Archive for September, 2011

Yesterday’s panel discussion and opening

Posted:  September 23rd 2011

Last night we held a very lively panel discussion and opening of the Fantastical Investments exhibition at Droog Amsterdam. The exhibition is on view at Droog Amsterdam until October 2nd, 2011. Stay tuned for more photos and video clips of the discussion.

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Fantastical Investments

Posted:  September 19th 2011

by Renny Ramakers

This Thursday, September 22nd we will present the outcome of the Droog Lab project that investigated the habits of Russian consumers at Droog in Amsterdam. A presentation will follow in Moscow in 2012 in partnership with Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design. As in all our Droog Lab projects, the outcome will be accompanied with a debate.

Our Lab projects start with my intuitive observations. In New York I was struck by the service economy, and in Russia, I was struck with consumer behaviour.

We all know that that Russia has a rich tradition in literature. In 1987, when I took a train to the countryside outside of Moscow, farmers were sitting around me with buckets of potatoes that they were taking to sell on the city markets. They were totally absorbed by Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy. In supermarkets and kiosks, classics and popular fiction books sit next to each other, as convenient items to be consumed on the go. I wondered how this addiction to reading could be reconciled with their lavish consumption—their love of diamonds and gold. Is there something to be learned from this paradoxical culture?

This was the brief to the team led by Daniel van der Velden (Metahaven). During their research in Moscow they discovered that these seemingly conflicting ways of consuming can be reduced to passion—to their love for fiction and fantasy as forms of escapism. This need for escapism emerged from a context of institutional mistrust. Since money is said to be dust, something not worth saving, it is better to spend it on more reliable things. We then realized spending on fiction and durable goods should be seen as an investment. A classic example is golden teeth, and another striking example we heard about was about a guy who bought two Porsches—one to drive in, the other one for spare parts.

The thought that acquiring durable goods can be a survival strategy made me think about our notion of the aesthetics of sustainability. If goods are durable why do they have to look so austere? We seem to think that there is a connection between “saving the environment” and an aesthetic that is bare and grey. We seem to think that sustainability is austerity, it is moderation, it is consuming less. If products are designed as an investment for one’s lifetime, there is no need to our pre-conceived notions of sustainable aesthetics. One of the outcomes of our project is a carpet with a pattern that changes as you get older and your taste and needs change. You buy it once in your lifetime. Another design shows screws that are made of 24-carat gold. Hidden in your furniture, they provide security if times get worse.

On September 22nd these principles will be presented with an imaginary brand, Fantastical Investments. The brand connects notions of survival and escapism with fiction and fantasy. Fiction is survival, story is shelter and celebration is memory.

In conversation with our team, Olga Kuzina, a Russian sociologist and economist pointed out that “in the world of rising uncertainty and institutional instability Russia may be considered as a looking glass that for the last 20 years has been offering the Western countries the reflection of the coming future.” In Russia the post-institutional era has begun, whereas we are just starting to mistrust the institutions. I would add that Russia also leads the way to a different vision on the aesthetics of sustainability, the creation of products that last a lifetime, products that will not be thrown away after a few years, products that can be seen as an investment in our insecure times.

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press release: Fantastical Investments

Posted:  September 16th 2011



Fantastical Investments—the outcome of Droog Lab’s study of consumption habits in Russia—is an imaginary luxury brand. By Droog with Metahaven, Fantastical Investments will be presented on Thursday, September 22nd with a panel discussion and exhibition at Droog Amsterdam. Unveiling a collection of nine products, the brand will act as a vehicle for discussion on the co-existence of fiction and survival in a new vision on luxury.

“Russians have a deeply engrained reading culture; one can find literary classics in any supermarket. At the same time, they are known for their lavish spending on luxury goods. Our intention was to understand the relationship between these apparent contradictions in developing a new model of consumption inspired by Russia,” says Renny Ramakers, co-founder and director of Droog, and initiator of the project. As part of the Strelka 2010 summer program, the Droog Lab design team led by Daniel van der Velden discovered that many consumption patterns in Russia emerged from a context of institutional mistrust. “Western countries have often been perceived as an example of the future towards which Russia is moving to. However, in the world of rising uncertainty and institutional instability Russia may be considered as a looking glass that for the last 20 years has been offering the Western countries the reflection of this coming future,” stated sociologist and economist Olga Kuzina in conversation with the team.

The team observed that acquiring durable goods can be a survival strategy, akin to hoarding or investing in gold, and that consuming fiction and feeding the imagination is equally critical to one’s capacity to thrive. These principles formulated the Fantastical Investments luxury brand proposition, inspired by Russia but aiming for more universal impact.

“Fantastical Investments brings together imagination, luxury and survival, anticipating a gradual dissipation of the 20th century institutional backup for civil life,” says Daniel van der Velden. The brand “thrives on some of the darkest sentiments currently around in Western culture, but gives them a positive turn.”

Download the full release here.

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Fantastical Investments: Excess is Essence

Posted:  September 16th 2011

A surplus of ephemerals like earth and pigments stashed for years of intensive use.

More.

 

 

 

 

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Fantastical Investments: installation has begun

Posted:  September 15th 2011

The exhibition installation for Fantastical Investments by Droog with Metahaven is starting today. Here are a couple photos from this morning.



Fi opens Thurs., Sept. 22nd with a panel discussion at 4:00 pm followed by the exhibition opening at 6:00 pm at Droog Amsterdam. RSVP for the panel to info@droog.com

 

 

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Invitation: Fantastical Investments

Posted:  September 14th 2011

fantastical investments by droog with metahaven

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
Droog Amsterdam

We invite you to the opening of the exhibition Fantastical Investments by Droog with Metahaven. The imaginary brand, Fi, is the outcome of Droog Lab’s study of consumption habits in Russia in partnership with Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design.
exhibition opening: 6:00 – 8:00 pm

We also invite you to the panel discussion moderated by Farid Tabarki, with Renny Ramakers (Droog), Daniel van der Velden (Metahaven), Olga Kuzina (economist and sociologist, Russia), Sjeng Scheijen (specialist in Russian culture, Leiden University) and Agata Jaworska (Droog).
panel: 4:00 – 6:00 pm

RSVP by Sept 20 info@droog.com
(required only for panel)

exhibition on view until October 2nd
Tues – Sat 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sun 12:00 – 5:00 pm

twitter hashtag #Fi

Partner: Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design
Supported by: Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and City of Amsterdam

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preview: Time is Life

Posted:  September 14th 2011

time is life droog metahaven

Fantastical Investments by Droog Metahaven, in partnership with Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design.

Thursday, September 22nd
4:00 – 6:00 pm panel discussion

6:00 – 8:00 exhibition opening
RSVP info@droog.com (for panel only)

 

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preview: Storage is Armour

Posted:  September 13th 2011

storage is armour droog metahaven

Fantastical Investments by Droog Metahaven, in partnership with Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design.

Thursday, September 22nd
4:00 – 6:00 pm panel discussion

6:00 – 8:00 exhibition opening
RSVP info@droog.com (for panel only)


 

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preview: Fiction is Survival

Posted:  September 12th 2011

A preview for our upcoming presentation of Fantastical Investments by Droog in collaboration with Daniel van der Velden (Metahaven) and in partnership with Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design.

Save Thursday, September 22nd 4:00 – 6:00pm to join us for the panel discussion followed by exhibition opening at Droog Amsterdam until 8:00pm. RSVP info@droog.com (limited spots!).

fiction is survival droog metahaven

 

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