Q&A with Marcel Schmalgemeijer

Droog Las Vegas opened on December 15th. We asked the designer, Marcel Schmalgemeijer a few questions.

What inspired the design?

I had to think of the room with the light floor that is in the Stanley Kubrick movie ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968). The floor visually elevates the furniture that is placed onto it and you get an enstranging atmosphere when you walk on it.

Can you tell us about the concept?

The key aspect is a strong gesture that is simple, basic and white. It is in stark contrast to Las Vegas, where as I see it, everything is a bit too much. Here the whiteness of the space gives space to the products. They have to do the show…

How do you think the design relates to Droog?

The white and basic aspect relates a bit to Droog. But especially I think the design gives very much space to the products. They have to do the show.

How does this store relate to your body of work?

Simple, basic, a big gesture, and a strong atmosphere.

Marcel Schmalgemeijer

Though Droog Las Vegas is officially Marcel’s first store design, he designed the 100 dollars or less pop-up store at Pioneers of Change, a festival of Dutch design, fashion and architecture curated by Renny Ramakers in September 2009.

Q&A with Renny Ramakers about Droog Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Many are surprised to hear Droog is opening in Las Vegas.
Why Las Vegas?

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas approached us. Initially it’s hard to see the common ground between Droog and Las Vegas, but for both, experience is important. For us it is interesting to reach a new audience, and Las Vegas is truly a unique place in the world. Sometimes reality can be wilder than fiction.

What do you think of the kind of design you see there?

One sees a totally different type of design. I believe the audience is ready for a new approach, one that establishes new borders between the design and the non-design world.

What about the themed approaches in Las Vegas?

The themed experiences are old-fashioned. You can see Las Vegas is looking for new experiences, and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is breaking some new ground. But it was already happening in 2002, for example with the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum by Rem Koolhaas. Perhaps then it was too early, and now might be a better time for new developments.

What are your impressions of Las Vegas?

Whether you are eating, watching a performance at a theatre, shopping or gambling, everything in Las Vegas is about entertainment. Such a concentration of entertainment is an interesting model for me.

Any thoughts on gambling?

If one can restrict oneself, gambling can be very playful.

Can you tell us about the store design?

With each store location we take a different approach. For Droog Las Vegas, our brief to the designer, Marcel Schmalgemeijer, was that it should be a strong gesture but at the same time, be very functional. Seems obvious, but it is important that the store looks and functions like a store. We want the design to allow the products to speak for themselves and to create an experience.

Are there any future plans for the store?

There will be a program of events and new collaborations with the local context. We have some ideas so far, but are also looking forward to what Las Vegas will inspire.

Droog Las Vegas opened yesterday. See store details here.

One of our favourite quotes

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

It’s two days before the opening of Droog Las Vegas–a great moment to pull up one of our favourite quotes by John Unwin, CEO of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas as published by Travel + Leisure:

John Unwin has been giving me a hard-hat tour of the Cosmopolitan for the better part of an hour, pointing out the “casino cabanas” and the lobby columns patterned in high-definition video screens. But it’s not until we reach the building’s eastern edge, where it opens onto the sidewalk of the Las Vegas Strip, that I realize just how different it’s going to be. “We’re going to put a Droog in this corner,” the hotel’s CEO tells me. A what? “You know: Droog, the Dutch design store. Slots would make more money, but I think Droog is cooler.”

Read the full article here.