Celebrating 20 years of the Soft Lamp by Arian Brekveld for Droog
Droog in conversation with designer Arian Brekveld
20 years has passed since the first, honey white Soft Lamp graced interiors around the world. In combination with the Soft Lamp’s 20 year anniversary, a new, limited edition Black Soft Lamp is just released. We asked the Soft Lamp’s designer Arian Brekveld a few questions about his design philosophy, what he is up to now and, most importantly, where he himself has the Soft Lamp hanging in his home.
Have you seen much change in the dip technique, particularly since you have revisited the lamp shade in black?
The technique of dipping itself is virtually unchanged, but everything around the production method has improved. The development is mainly reflected in the new types of submersible materials. In addition, the production of moulds is greatly simplified by the new technology found in rapid CNC milling machines. Our producer has developed specialised immersion machines, incorporated with new specialised technologies. But ultimately the essence of dipping stays the same: you just dip!
How did you originally become acquainted with PVC dipping?
During my graduation at the Design Academy in Eindhoven (1995), I researched forgotten crafts and techniques. Eventually I came across the techniques of a dipping technician, actually one located right near Eindhoven. Dipped products back then were mainly technical, utilitarian and practical. Caps, sleeves, hoses. I took a lot of time to experiment with the dipping material. My experiments eventually led me to experimenting with light in combination different compositions of the paste, until a wonderful warm shine moved through the material. I still remember my enthusiasm! The Soft Lamp was the first interior product which has been manufactured using this technique, and was so was the first aesthetic application of the material.
Have other design processes developed because of the Soft Lamp?
The seemingly simple design of the Soft Lamp, combined with material research is something I love to bring back time and time again in my work. It is a combination of these properties that direct new and interesting concepts.
How do you see Droog’s philosophy complement that of the Soft Lamp?
The lamp dates back to 1995. During the second half of the 90s, many designers began to experiment with many materials – including plastics. For all the known and unknown material properties, new applications were sought; batch sizes were modest; and designers created their own products. From this, production processes without high investment costs became interesting, and creativity was rife. This is what we did, created from a simple, but very powerful focus – this fitted into the Droog thought.
The Soft Lamp is a trick of the eye, appearing as ceramic, when in fact it is rubber. This playfulness is integral to the product’s identity – is play an important part of your practice?
Not exactly, I consider it as a kind of hidden property – a trait that hopefully surprises and delights the user.
What is a core value of your own design method?
I design for many different brands. The type of products I’m working on therefore varies. I work with minority groups in remote areas in Vietnam and small scale artisanal products. At the same time, I work for Hella Jongerius for the new KLM business class seat, along with various large-scale industries. The differences in these design processes, and the type of products couldn’t be further apart. Different questions are born from different briefs and therefore very different design processes. I think the strength of my work to a large extent lies in switching between, and connecting such processes.
What production / design methods are you experimenting with at the moment?
In recent years I have been designing more and more furniture. In addition, like all design making, I prefer working to scale. It has become a kind of specialty of mine where I can quickly make my own idea, and therefore get to the core of the design. In so doing, the concept progresses and new, more richly-informed ideas develop. Also, prototypes help clients understand concepts much more efficiently.
And the most important question – where are your Soft Lamps hanging at home?
Still too many rooms in our house 10 years ago we bought a big old and dilapidated house, with many rooms. After the renovation, there was little budget left for the interior. At that time it seemed like a bad idea to quickly buy some cheap bulbs and hang up. A box of Soft Lamps was still in my studio. We then hung one in the bathroom, the hall, and above the sofa …and I must confess: they still hang there after 10 years!
The canvases have turned. The technicolour life of Vincent van Gogh inspires contemporary tableware,
travelware and graphic designs by Studio Droog for the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent Willem van Gogh was not only a brilliant painter, but also a keen traveler and writer. For Van Gogh
Museum’s new museum shop in Amsterdam, Studio Droog was asked to design a range of products based
on Van Gogh’s artworks: Landscape with Houses, 1890 and Wheatfield under Thunderclouds, 1890. Looking
beyond the surface of these paintings, Studio Droog dove into the rich, fickle life of the artist, giving rise to
an eclectic collection of over 20 unique tableware, travelware, postcards and poster designs that echo his
life and art.
• Travelware based on Wheatfield under Thunderclouds, 1890 by Vincent van Gogh.
The travelware collection references the work Wheatfield under Thunderclouds, 1890 and appeals to Van
Gogh’s frequent globetrotting – even though he often became homesick. The range derives its playful
pattern from the artwork’s staccato brush-work and bold, bright colours – with each design heralding a
signature Droog twist.
The collection includes a toiletry bag that fits your entire life’s work of grooming; an eyemask that blocks
not only eyes but ears too; a scarf that works double-shift as a blanket; an unmissable luggage belt; a
foldable weekend bag – also possible to use on weekdays; and a wallet to keep not only cash, but priceless
• Tableware based on Landscape with Houses, 1890 by Vincent van Gogh.
The blue blush of Van Gogh’s Landscape with Houses defines the ceramic and glassware collection designed
by Studio Droog. By deconstructing the image into layers, and editing them into individual patterns, Studio
Droog cleverly harnessed the signature linework of Van Gogh to create new patterns that can be played
Translucent glass plates of various sketched patterning can be stacked to recreate the original painting;
glass and ceramic tumblers don dancing strokes and lines – as if doodled by Van Gogh himself; patterned
bowls and vases make masterpieces of your food and flowers; and tealights cast shadows of an impressionist
• Posters and postcards of words and images by Vincent van Gogh (soon to be released)
Van Gogh wrote regularly to his brother Theo. Within these writings lay a wealth of wisdom, that Studio Droog
translated into quotes for a series of postcards. And these wisdoms could have only stemmed from his love
of reading – where Studio Droog designed a stylized bookshelf of Van Gogh’s actual reading list in the form
of a poster.
About Studio Droog
Renny Ramakers founded Studio Droog in 2011. The studio creates concepts, spaces and products, all
based on our key principles: respect for the existing, context/relevance, beauty and playfulness. Distilled to
the simple idea of less+ more. The studio addresses client commissions as well as in house assignments. For
more information, please visit www.droog.com.
About the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
The Van Gogh Museum makes the life and work of Vincent van Gogh and the art of his time accessible to
as many people as possible. The museum’s collection features in excess of 200 paintings, 500 drawings and
almost all letters by Vincent van Gogh, alongside his collection of Japanese prints. The library is home to
more than 23,000 volumes. In 2014, the museum welcomed 1.6 million visitors through its doors.
The Van Gogh Museum is dedicated to making the life and work of Vincent van Gogh accessible to as
many people as possible in order to enrich and inspire them. We unite all elements of Van Gogh’s world.
Paulus Potterstraat 7
1071 CX Amsterdam
The new museum shop is located in the new entrance building of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and until 10 pm on Fridays.
The shop is only accessible for museum visitors, and is open daily from 9 a.m. until 30 minutes after closing
time of the museum.
Droog is hosting an eclectic Christmas Program that’s a little more omni-faith than your usual seasonal affair. Dubbed ’Trans-Christmas’, the program is a celebration of everyone, everywhere – regardless of religion, gender, title, sexuality, favourite food – anything really.
The program hosts a series of events, charity auctions, workshops, gift ideas for him, her, the kids and gender neutral; as well as online content curated to express a celebration for all.
Join us for a very merry Trans-Christmas – and see below for the eclectic program.
The program for Trans-Christmas 2015 at Droog:
1. Make some Sound! Workshop by Trapped in Suburbia
What: Soundcard Workshop with Trapped in Suburbia
When: 10th December, 2015 18.30 – 20.00
More info and booking
2. “Manufactured” by the Wunderkammer
What: Shop in shop and winter exhibition by the Wunderkammer
When: 4-31 December 2015
3. The Price of Fashion: Fashion Charity Auction and Debate moderated by Aynouk Tan
What: Inaugural Fashion Charity Auction and Debate moderated by Aynouk Tan
This fashion charity auction will generate funds through auctioning
clothing items from well-known figures in the Dutch community.
This auction is complemented with a debate uncovering the value of fashion,
how its context changes when discussing it next to the refugee crisis,
how clothing gains significance through experience, in effect – what is the price of fashion?
When: 9th December, 2015 18.30 – 21.00
4. Style your Style with Droog: Seasonal design styling advice from Droog
What: Get professional advice on how to style your dinner table, home or space
with Cecile Brekelmans of Droog.
When: Throughout the holiday season, by appointment – contact firstname.lastname@example.org for
In Milan this year, Droog presented their smallest exhibition ever – and rode away with a Milano Design Award for the Construct Me! Hardware Collection.
Droog wins Milano Design Award for Best Tech
The Construct Me! Hardware Collection by Studio Droog, presented in Milan 2015, has won Best Tech for the 5th Edition Milano Design Awards 2015. Droog was among only 15 nominees for the award and picked from the 440 presentations shown during the Salone del Mobile 2015. The results were revealed Sunday 19th April, 2015 at Teatro Franco Parenti, Milan.
The jury stated that the work was commended for the originality in the choice to work on the “micro” dimension, which becomes added value without the need for spectacular effects. The project discreetly shows simple technology infused into design, through experimental and innovative products, highly technical, yet poetic.
Droog was among winners such as Lexus, Gamfratesi/Danish Art Foundation and Antonio Marris/Segno Italiano.
About the Award
Reaching it’s 5th edition, the Milano Design Award is the first and unique award dedicated to the best set-ups of Milan Design Week – part of Design Week Festival and organized by Elita in partnership with La Repubblica, IED, Future Concept Lab, Casa Matera, fuorisalone.it and lovli.it.
Starting December 2nd, Hôtel Droog will showcase a selection of styles from the G-Star RAW for the Oceans collection in a temporary pop up store.
RAW for the Oceans is an initiative retrieving plastic from the ocean and innovating it into denim. G-Star RAW, Pharrell Williams’Bionic Yarn and Parley for the Oceans have joined forces to create collections that make a serious impact on the plastic pollution in our oceans. The initiative is culminated in G-Star collections, made from Bionic Yarn. The collaboration is in cooperation with The Vortex Project. More information at http://www.g-star.com/rawfortheoceans.
Why buy a cheap original when you can have a luxury copy? The New York Times reports on our luxury gifts for the upcoming holiday season, inspired by traditional Chinese objects and works from the Rijksmuseum.
read the full article
New impulse for wallpaper
Let the new Droog wallpaper collection decorate your walls with history
This fall Droog launches a unique wallpaper collection inspired by classic art works from the Rijksmuseum and Dutch church buildings. The collection entails designs by Studio Droog, and graphic designers Irma Boom and Mieke Gerritzen. Let the richness of Dutch history come to life on the walls of your own home or office.
A rich environment for minimalism
Minimalism in architecture and design has banned out wallpaper. Bare walls seemed to be the perfect environment for simple and bare furniture. It is time for a revival. It is time to give wallpaper a new impulse. Studio Droog’s Pleasure Ground wallpaper, based on an 18th century tapestry by François Coppens, was designed to make a nice match with simple furniture. This was demonstrated at Rijksstudio m2, a presentation by Droog and Rijksmuseum during Salone del Mobile in Milan in April. Another great example can be found in the Library at Hôtel Droog in Amsterdam, where the walls are decorated with the floral mural “Flowers”.
Hang one of 18 famous paintings from the Rijksmuseum on your wall with Colour DNA wallpaper. Irma Boom created this by using the colour palette she deveioped as part of the new house style for the reopened Rijksmuseum in 2013. She spent ten years deconstructing works of famous painters like Vermeer and Rembrandt to substract their colour DNA – the six colours that make up the painting. These colour schemes are now available as wallpaper in narrow or broad striping that you can mix and match.
Always wanted a Vermeer or Rembrandt on your wall? Mieke Gerritzen’s Old masters offers you a wall full of famous painters. This wallpaper design creates a beautiful contemporary diagonal pattern appear from a distance.
The wallpaper collection will be available on droog.com and at the Droog Store in Amsterdam from September 2nd from 199.00 EUR (per roll/4,38 m2).
What can Droog do for a home or work space?
We like to share our expertise in interior products and projects in our brand new look book for 2014. The lifelike interiors display our products in inspirational settings for a house, hotel, bar, garden, office or shop.
Modern, economic, extravagant or classical, Droog products fit almost every style and add a timeless value to a home or office. Different exciting and colourful interior settings reveal how small additions and adjustments can turn a tiny space into an environment with deluxe feel. That is the intrinsic value of our well-designed objects.
Who better than the designers that developed your favorite products, can design a space that will wow you even more?
Go ahead and take a look.
Droog releases Here, There, Everywhere, a visual and textual anthology of realistic and imaginative design projects by Droog Lab in collaboration with Winy Maas, Metahaven, Jurgen Bey, Richard Hutten, TD, Mieke Gerritzen, Erik Kessels, Bas Princen, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and others.
Edited by co-founder of Droog Renny Ramakers and Droog Lab curator Agata Jaworska, and designed by Thonik, the 224-page book is a compilation of 16 projects in nine chapters, with essays, conversations and talks by David Allin, Jurgen Bey, Koert Debeuf, Theo Deutinger, Greg Lindsay, Winy Maas, Justin McGuirk, Heleen Mees, Charles Renfro, Wouter Vanstiphout and Daniel van der Velden.
Here, There, Everywhere is a journey through diverse places of the world, from the Canadian Arctic to the deserts of Dubai, with outcomes ranging from a luxury brand inspired by Russian consumption patterns with Metahaven to an imaginary society with space for a million identities inspired by Belgium’s apparent lack of a singular national identity with Erik Kessels.
The projects are a culmination of four years of self-initiated work by Droog Lab in collaboration with partners, designers and clients. Initiated by Renny Ramakers in 2009, Droog Lab scans the world for emerging developments, exploring the broader relevance of local findings.
Here, There, Everywhere will be available on droog.com and at the Droog store in Amsterdam for 39.00 EUR (ISBN 9789090281735).
Here, There, Everywhere is supported by the Mondriaan Fund.
How to win
5. Win the Swing with the plants
Entries can be made until December 31, 2013. The winner will be announced on Facebook during the second week of January, 2014.