Archive for the ‘Press’ Category

Interview with Renny by KLM’s iFly magazine

Posted:  December 13th 2010

Renny Ramakers

Watch a recent interview with Renny Ramakers by KLM’s iFly magazine.

“I am not an idealist by any means. It is not my goal to create social design, but I do like it when social renewal results in innovative design.” – Renny Ramakers

Watch here.

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10 Great Design Stores In NYC

Posted:  October 1st 2010

Huffington Post listed Droog New York as one of the top ten design stores in NYC!

Droog New York

Read more and rate their choices here.

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Interview with Daniel van der Velden and Agata Jaworska

Posted:  September 20th 2010

Russia consumes

Last week the Russia consumes design team, led by Daniel van der Velden was in Moscow for research and initial concept development. Theory & Practice published an interview by Ksenia Petrova with Daniel and Droog project & content manager, Agata Jaworska today. Here is the extended English version.

Tell us, please, what is this project about and what was its premises?

Agata: The Droog Lab was initiated in 2009 in Amsterdam by Renny Ramakers, director and co-founder of Droog, mainly for two reasons. One is this fact that more and more cities all over the world are developing in the same direction and are starting to look the same, when in reality, one knows there are real differences between them. The other is, if you look at the world of design, designers are copying and referencing each other and the design world is becoming circular and inward-looking. The Lab was started to bring designers to foreign places to find new directions for design. We will be working on eight projects over the course of four years.

Daniel: The initial idea of ‘Russia Consumes’ came from two observations that Renny Ramakers had. One was about the extreme, ‘hyperconsumption’ – diamonds, ‘bling-bling’, etcetera. The other was about peasants reading classic literature on the train. We think that these two forms of consuming might be connected – either by their extreme difference, or by the fact that they exist as part of a similar mindset or mentality. So, what we’ve been doing here this week is visiting different places, interviewing people, researching, observing and of course participating as far as we can in everyday Moscow life – and observing that through a design lens, a design point of view. What we have found is going to be translated into a design concept which can be an idea, an image, a prototype or a product. The concept will not be about Moscow but it will be informed by it.

Agata, you said, that there is a series of similar projects by Droog?

Agata: The first project was in Dubai, the second is in the Canadian Arctic, the third one is in New York, and Moscow is the fourth. There will be four more and each of them will have an exhibition and a publication.

What is the role of Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design?

Agata: Strelka is our local partner. We certainly couldn’t have entered Russian society the way we did without them. Also the president of Strelka, Ilya Oskolkov-Tsentsiper came to Amsterdam for our kick-off brainstorm with Daniel, Renny Ramakers, Sjeng Scheijen, an expert in Russian culture. We will be presenting the outcome at Strelka in May 2011.

What kind of outcome you are expecting from this project?

Daniel: I’m expecting that we deliver something that works on two levels; one is a level of fantasy, of fiction, or fairytale – design providing an escape route for the mind. But on the other, lower level it should be about absolutely basic elements of life, about survival in a world that is so pretty and yet so hostile. At this point I also would like to mention our team, consisting of the architect Totan Kuzambaev, graphic designer Pavel Milyakov, graphic designer Michèle Champagne and product designer Digna Kosse. Together with Agata we’ve had such a great week – and I do hope this will show off in the final result. As said before, it is going to be something conceptual as you would maybe expect from Droog.

Agata: It’s very important to note that we’re not designing for the place, even though we are working with people from here, but rather, we are learning from the place as an inspiration for a broader result.

What did you learn so far here, in Russia?

Daniel: The thing that I found very interesting about Russia as far as I’ve seen it is this vibrant and dynamic society, which coexists with institutions and government in a fascinating manner. Because there often seems to be no positive interaction at all – the government does its own things, people do their own things. You have this body of institutions that is almost like a ruin, or museum piece, and on top of that there is all that social energy. We’ve been to luxury villages and exclusive spas and shopping malls, and to a soup-kitchen. We’ve been to people’s houses, to the high-rise in the periphery, and to grey and black markets where they sold things from Chinese imports to machetes to live owls and raccoons. Impressive.

Agata: I think the biggest lesson we learned from Russia is how it is incredibly advanced in some ways but also backwards at the same time. The way people cope, and at times thrive, is a model that countries in the West dealing with uncertain times can learn from.

And the last question is about Russian soul, of course. There are lots of speculations about this ‘mystical’ thing. Do you have something to say about it based on your experience of Russia?

Daniel: You can keep talking about it, you may approach it – but you can never quite grasp it. I found here, in Russia, a deep and sometimes black humor. No conversation has passed without at least five jokes and anecdotes. This coexistence of optimism and cynicism is very interesting and it does have the literary quality that Renny pointed at in the very beginning of this project. I would say that we don’t see this in the West and I wouldn’t say I understand it yet – I’m not sure if I ever can. I’m thankful for this week, and invite you to look at the outcomes in May 2011.

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Vidafine interviews Renny Ramakers

Posted:  September 9th 2010

Text by Vidafine.

“Reality isn’t static anymore. It’s not a set of ideas you either have to fight or resign yourself to. It’s made up, in part, of ideas that are expected to grow as you grow, and as we all grow, century after century.” – Robert M. Pirsig, Zen: The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,1974 , as referenced by Renny Ramakers, Co-founder and Director of Droog.

Recently, we introduced you to Droog, a conceptual design company located in Amsterdam. We mentioned the various facets of the company and how the Droog Lab is quickly becoming a globally known research hub that brings relevant solutions to its clients, and people of the world. Many of us live life hoping to one day start something that we can call our own. Few, actually go ahead and do it. After learning about Droog, I was particularly interested in the projects that this company is currently involved in, and was estatic when Co-founder and Director of Droog, Renny Ramakers, agreed to chat with us about her beginnings and her vision for the future of Droog.

idafine: After some research, we discovered that you have a history background. How did you transition into global design from what you studied in school? What drew you to this particular industry?

Renny: After studying art history I reached a point in which I wanted to impact it. Art history gave me broad perspective and critical rigour that I combined with my ability to sense what is going on at the present. Together with the Co-founder of Droog, Gijs Bakker, we noticed a movement that some designers in the Netherlands were pioneering. We gave it a title and a presence that took off, and eventually became global.

Vidafine: Knowing about the past and how things ‘used to be’ definitely can drive someone to initiate change for the future. What is your ultimate goal for Droog?

Renny: I am quite ambitious and we have many plans… I started Droog because I found it necessary to present a new spirit in design. At that time this new spirit was based on a conceptual approach. Now, one can see this approach everywhere and as I feel it, it is time for new impulses. That’s why I started the Lab. But we are also trying other directions, and are working on other models. For instance, our presentation this past April in Milan, Saved by Droog, has opened up a new way of working (by treating unwanted products as raw material for product development) and we want to continue on this path. Ultimately, I want to express that Droog is not a design collective but a company. Our company is content driven but it also wants to make profit.

Vidafine: Founding your own company is definitely a lifetime milestone. What’s your most memorable moment as Co-founder and Director of Droog? Continue reading “Vidafine interviews Renny Ramakers” »

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DAMN: More than Sandcastles

Posted:  August 26th 2010

Here is the DAMN’s lead on the story about design in the Middle East featuring Droog al Arab:

Droog al Arab

On Design and Art in the Middle East

You don’t have to dust off any archive to see Dubai’s quick zero-hero-alleged zero turnabout. But those with business class destination-deficiency syndrome do not dictate life and art, and as Mark Twain quipped ‘reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated’. Surveying the fortunes & development of the regional art and design scenes, one resident expatriate also profiles the work of ‘local’ artists Rokni & Ramin Haerizadeh and Hassan Sharif.

Jurgen Bey in local attire, climbing Fossil Rock; Droog al Arab team in the background. © Photo: Katrin Greiling
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Vidafine writes about the Lab

Posted:  August 25th 2010

Thank you Vidafine for this article on the latest activities in the Droog Lab:

Since 1993, Droog has been a budding conceptual design company that has helped Dutch design gain international recognition. They create in a way that is fresh (sometimes unusual), down to earth and iconic, with the ultimate goal of changing the way people think about their surroundings (which is what we obviously love about them here at Vidafine). Headquartered in Amsterdam under the distinctive eye of Renny Ramakers, their main office operates out of the Netherlands just above their store, while another store has sprouted in New York in 2008. In addition to designing clever products, one of the latest initiatives of this company is their Lab. The Droog Lab is definitely something worth talking about as it aims to bring together the creative design talents of the team with global issues that require further investigation.

“The Droog lab is free, unrestricted and exploratory, yet has a very ambitious mission: to define the next generation of global design. The Lab identifies urgencies on a global level and investigates them locally, with local partners, consulting experts, and known and unknown designers.The aim is to generate outcomes that have relevance on a global level.” In other words, they believe the next generation of global design will focus on responding to contemporary issues, investigated locally, but then translated to an outcome that has value for contemporary society in general. They believe that one way to understand what’s happening around us and to gain new inspiration for design is to visit foreign places with an outsider’s perspective, be present, engage with others and collaborate.

Two projects that I found particularly interesting was Luxury of the North and Droog al Arab, projects which speak directly to what we have been sharing with you at Vidafine about Back to Basics and Community.

Droog al Arab

As of late, you may have come to realize Dubai has developed into a hub for innovation, luxury design and architecture. Ambitious to gain global recognition, their rapid growth in development seems to have slowed down, and their stability for the future may be at risk as detailed in Arabian Business. In partnership with design gallery Traffic, Droog stepped in to see how they can learn and gain inspiration from Dubai to create a new model for future developments, not only for Dubai but for elsewhere as well. Taking their ambitions as a design company, combined with social intelligence gained from their visit to Dubai and the idea of collaborative creation, a plan was born. Having started the project in May of 2009, it took one full year for the investigation to be complete. The result? An online platform of collaborative content where leading designers can invite emerging designers to contribute their ideas and skills and ultimately work together. You can read more details of the project results here.

Luxury of the North

The second project is definitely near and dear but still in progress. Luxury of the North is a project that took place in Canada’s Pond Inlet in partnership with the University of Alberta’s Principal Investigator Tim Antoniuk, who spoke at TEDxEdmonton recently. With travel becoming more of a commodity rather than a luxury in the Western world, the North, just doesn’t seem too far out of reach anymore. Further studies about the North also remind us about issues of global warming happening right before our eyes. Most dramatically affecting the North, melting ice has hindered on the lives of many including humans and animals up north, but it also has opened up trade routes to the North that never used to exist. Through this Lab project, the team at Droog is looking at how Canada’s Northern ‘extreme conditions’ and intense negotiation with change can inspire a new way of living in contemporary cities elsewhere. They are investigating how the North deals with its resources and how it deals with its ancestry might inspire our future. Spending about 10-12 days on site this past June, speaking with locals and the Nunavut government as well as interacting with wildlife and the majestic surroundings of the North, results of their findings will be presented in Toronto in early 2011. You can learn more about the progression of the project here.

Droog has truly demonstrated their ideas for change and their plans for execution. I’m excited to hear about their findings and their strategies of introducing their discoveries to the world! I hope Droog can keep us up to date! If you are from the European Union area, and are interested in what they do, I’m happy to say that they are currently looking for interns for September 2010. Perhaps you can send your application in and who knows, you may be involved in their next big project!

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