Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

“Street Life in Hong Kong”

Posted:  October 15th 2014

Coming up at our branch Droog HK from October 17 to November 17: ‘Street Life in Hong Kong’ exhibition by renowned photographer Laurence Lai. The expo consists of twenty images reflecting on life in Hong Kong from the 1990’s until now.

Capturing my city’s cultural side and mass faces through social documentary style has long been my passion for twenty years so far! The line between work and hobby is blurred. The only thing I am certain of is the ever growing enthusiasm in this.

In this portfolio, the twenty chosen works for the exhibition are titled “Street Life in Hong Kong”. The album covers various parts of the city namely Central, Sheung Wan, Wanchai, Sham Shui Po, and Mongkok. The timeframe goes back from 1990s to the recent few years. The objects include skyscrapers, pedestrians, historical buildings, and street views etc. These works truly reflected my perspectives in different periods which in term translated into various shooting styles.

At the early stage of my photographic journey, I started off with an exploratory hat, interacting with the city, reaching out to places I have never been to, taking pictures in plain and direct sense. During the years, I was a little panic as those objects taken got changed and maneuvered drastically. That literally assigned me with a new mission. That mission is to record the vanishing parts of the fast-changing city. I prefer creating some quality conversations with those I shoot. The interactions are always inspiring to me. All in all, the photographic exploration granted me valuable understanding of this city.

A causal walk on the street can tell one a lot of about the city. Look at the skyscrapers, high-intensity buildings, hassling crowd, similar shopping malls, travelers with their backpacks, and soon-to-be-torn-down old buildings. Plus, the use of electronic devices dominated the communications among people. I feel that the spirit of Mountain Lion is quietly fading away. Industries chase quick return. Operators seem unsettled. Sometime at my late night, while I was processing the black and white films, I can’t help pondering the speed of change in city; I can’t help missing the souls and stories stored in those images.

As a native, I passionately love this city. I hope through these images people can help enrich your understanding of the local culture. Let’s reflect the past, cherish today and wish for the best tomorrow!

Laurence Lai / Li Zhaoming

Life events

1972 Born in Hong Kong

1992 Engaged merchandising work in fashion industry

1995 Engaged in Deep Shadow Photography Association

1998 Engaged in the fashion trading, wholesale and retail business

2000 Participated into Study Tour to Australia

2002 Founded Laurence Lai Gallery

2003 Opened Laurence Lai Gallery at the Peak Galleria

2004 Supported charity auction at anniversary luncheon for Hong Kong Society of Accountants in England

2005 Established the fourth branches of Laurence Lai Gallery

2005 Received by “Excellent” quality mark from the Hong Kong Tourist Association

2006 Visited the mountains in Gansu Province in China with “Universal hopes” and shot children’s lives in mountain areas

2006 Named the Caring Company for six consecutive years

2007 Named “Top Hong Kong photographer” by “Photography Magazine”

2008 Launched restaurant called “Small Dot Emperor” at the Peak Galleria

2009 Exhibited one hundred works at Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong

2010 Hosted exhibition “Project Hope” at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

2010 Appointed as director of environmental photography at Lions Club of Hong Kong

2011 Selected as the “52 Hong Kong contemporary photographers”

2012 Appointed as contract photographer with Hong Kong Observatory

2012 Nominated as the HK Ten Outstanding Young Persons (final 20)

2013 Featured at photography auction and anniversary meal at St. Andrew Church of the ball under Laurence Lai Building Fund

2013 Appointed as photography consultant for “Hope Worldwide” and “cloud action”

2013 Created project named “My City” and featured at Central Cawah Art Gallery

2013 Initiated charity project “Recycling used camera” and interviewed by Cable Television interview

2013 Featured on ATV “I am most impressed people” programs

2014 Featured on TVB program “Scoop” interview titled “Laurence Mentality of Doing the Business of Photography Galleries”

2014 Appointed as President of Hong Kong MBA Toastmasters 2014-15

2014 Appointed as Gitzo (French Brand) Tripod’s Greater China and Hong Kong spokesperson

2014 Appointed as spokesperson of Pentax 645Z, a Japanese medium format professional digital camera by Jebsen

2014 Launched Laurence Lai Gallery headquarters at the Central Star Ferry Pier


What is waste worth by Renny Ramakers

Posted:  July 17th 2014

What is waste worth?

Waste. What is the value of waste? In Cape Town everything is re-used and re-used and re-used until it falls apart. In Cape Town nothing is waste. Everywhere, from townships to more well–to-do areas, we can find products made of used or re-used materials. If it isn’t for economic necessity, it is for love of shabby chic.

shabby chic

This is how last week I started my keynote at Department of Design in Cape Town. Department of Design is a three weeks event, initiated by the Dutch consulate, with Christine de Baan as program director. What makes this official Dutch participation in Cape Town Design Capital 2014 so special, is that it is not a ‘business as usual’ presentation of design objects. But this initiative rather seeks collaboration with South Africa on topics such as energy, water, health, education and town planning. It is a program full of lectures and workshops featuring Ekim Tan (Play the City), Michelle Provoost (INTI), Jeroen Warmerdam (Tygron), Kristian Koreman (Zus) and others.

When we were asked to design an environment for this event, it was from the outset clear to me that this should be a welcoming landscape in which visitors could discuss, relax or have a coffee and that it should be entirely made of waste, sourced locally, executed by local producers and that after closure of the event all the materials should go back into the flow.

A beautiful little church in the township Khayelitsha, made of corrugated steel and painted in blue and white, was our guideline for the colours. It is our tribute to the anonymous people who created this.


In our Amsterdam based studio we searched the Internet and discovered numerous places where we could get waste. We made a plan and our team went to Cape Town to collect the materials, especially wooden planks, crates, corrugated steel and bicycles. It was a journey full of surprises.

In Cape Town nothing is waste. Even more so, waste is scarce. There is too much need. Consequently we had to pay a lot more than we expected, even for almost rotten planks and window frames. We had to skip the idea of using used crates in our furniture pieces. They just were not available. So we decided to make an exception and bought them new. Another limitation was the use of corrugated steel to cover the walls of the auditorium. Our idea was to make a lot of incisions in this material to give it more character. But once in Cape Town, we soon discovered that this should not be done. Since this material proves to be so valuable for the communities. It provides a roof above their head. Therefore every cut in this material would be an irreparable waste.

credit cards welcome

The biggest challenge was to work from a distance. In our studio in Amsterdam we made renderings and technical drawings and we monitored the execution by the local producers. Eventually we managed to achieve a 90% result of our renderings while 10% was improvisation on the spot.


doors to the future

cafe table

At first sight, I wished that some details would have been executed more precisely. But when everything was set up and the lights were on, the overall look and feel took this initial desire away . It was amazing to see how an environment covered with a seemingly random but consequent pattern of wooden planks full of cracks and splinters could give such a beautiful result. It was also an experience to see how everything fitted in this environment, the stools, the tables, the mobile coffee bar, the little houses… With a strong framework it does not matter whether there are a few planks more or less, and whether some details are not like they are supposed to be. It is a framework that allows improvisation.

playground cinema


Re-using materials and products is what we have done from the outset. Among the highlights of our first presentation in Milan in 1993 were Tejo Remy’ s Chest of Drawers and Rag chair. In 2010 we presented UP, a business model based on the redesign of dead stock. Re-using waste and leftovers represents the ultimate circular economy. But it is also a process with restrictions. It is not only that waste can be scarce, but it also fact that most companies prefer to destroy their leftovers instead of bringing them back into circulation.

Be that as it may, making things out of leftovers is a playful process with lots of opportunities for improvisation. It generates a unique sense of beauty, the beauty of imperfection, which is such a relief in our times of super perfection. Piet Hein Eek showed this already in 1991 with his scrap wood cabinet. Although we are used to design with leftovers, the Cape Town assignment was a surprisingly new experience with more roughness, and less control than we are used to. Improvisation on the spot had to bring everything together.

garden with the mobile bar


house of meetings

little house of relaxation

After closure of the event everything has to go back into the flow. My dream is that piles of blue wooden planks will be dropped in one of the townships, so that they can be used to make new houses and that at my next visit, I will find some totally blue houses or houses with just a few patches of blue. This would be the cherry on the cake.


Keynote by Renny Ramakers in Cape Town on July 9th

Posted:  June 26th 2014

Renny Ramakers

On 9 July, droog co-founder Renny Ramakers will give a keynote speech about designing the interior for Department of Design, the Dutch pavillion for World Design Capital Cape Town 2014.

If you’d like to attend the keyote, please enquire to [email protected] (subject to availability). For more info, visit


Design Column #7 ‘Wasted Matter’ is on view at the Droog Gallery

Posted:  May 22nd 2014


For the second time this year, Boijmans’ quarterly Design Column exhibition travels to Amsterdam after showing in Rotterdam. Design Column #7 ‘Wasted Matter’ is on view at the Droog Gallery from 21 May to 29 June 2014, showcasing the view of young designers on our current use and waste of resources. Droog will also host two public talks with designers and guest speakers; on 12 June (Building on (e)waste) and 26 June (Material ♥ Tax).

Creative solutions for use and waste of resources
Worldwide prosperity continues to increase, standards of living are rising and the world population continues to grow. Despite this situation, it seems that we currently waste around 98 percent of all available energy on this planet. The urgency for a sustainable use of resources grows daily. There is moderate attention for green sources of energy. But new forms of energy are always considerably more expensive than traditional methods of extracting fossil fuels. And so we stick to the existing system. A growing number of designers is concerned with this dilemma. They operate outside the system to look at the problem from a completely different angle. They are creatively using waste and are searching for „new” organic materials, or, are exploring new ways to generate energy.

Ideas that make a difference
Every three months the Design Column focuses on a news item in the form of a small exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and subsequently at the Droog Gallery in Amsterdam. The column is a place where new ideas are made visible, where the power of imagination is given expression. Designers and artists are especially interested in experimental imagination. With their idiosyncratic vision, they see things differently and are capable of bringing about change. The Design Column creates a space for these innovative concepts.


Droog wins Amsterdam Business Award 2014

Posted:  May 9th 2014

Droog has won the Amsterdam Business Award 2014. Director and co-founder of Droog Renny Ramakers accepted the award at the galadinner at NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky on May 8th. The jury commended Droog for the company’s distinctive course, business instinct and for putting Amsterdam on the global map as a design hot-spot. SkyNRG and Wefilm were also competing for this entrepreneurship award initiated by MeerBusiness Amsterdam, now in its fifth year.

Renny Ramakers: “The Amsterdam Business Award means great recognition for Droog. We go off the beaten track in developing and designing our projects and products, which makes the process really exciting for us. It is very stimulating that our pioneering attitude is both recognized and rewarded”


Droog nominated for Amsterdam Business Award 2014

Posted:  March 6th 2014

Droog nominated for Amsterdam Business Award 2014

Droog is nominated for the Amsterdam Business Award 2014 for best entrepreneurship – alongside bio fuel company SkyNRG and commercials production company Wefilm. The three nominees will be judged on achievements in innovation, sustainability, future perspectives, social involvement and spin off to the local economy.  The winner receives a 25,000 euro advertisement budget for De Telegraaf.

The jury consists of chairman Bart Maussen (founder and owner Dutch PR Group), Nico Perdaan (owner and partner Jan Accountants), Philip van Poecke (sales director De Telegraaf), Eric Traa (regional director Rabobank Markt-Centrum Amsterdam), and Arthur van der Kroef (partner Van Diepen Van der Kroef Advocaten). The winner is announced on May 8.


Droog & TD presentation SZHKSMZ wins Public Choice Award at Biennale Shenzhen

Posted:  March 4th 2014

We are very proud to announce that Droog and TD’s presentation SZHKSMZ has won a Public Choice Award at the Urbanism\Architecture Bi-city Biennale Shenzhen. The winners received the most votes from visitors of UABB, which concluded its three months of exhibits and symposium events on February 28th. SZHKSMZ was an imagined Shenzhen Hong Kong Special Material Zone designated to stimulate alternatives to material depletion.


Glass works by Arnout Visser

Posted:  February 26th 2014

From March 5th – March 30th, Droog Gallery will present the work of Arnout Visser. A ‘form-finder’ with a love of glass, Visser creates ingenious objects inspired by physical properties and laws. The exhibition will feature the latest results from a series of workshops with master glassblowers from the Czech Republic working in the Netherlands and in Kenya. A selection of pieces will be available for sale for the first time. The exhibition will also feature historical works by Arnout Visser, including works he designed for Droog since the early nineties.

Thursday, March 6th
6:00 – 8:00 Dinner
8:00 – Q&A and exhibition opening


Collaboration with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Posted:  December 16th 2013












Droog has started a collaboration with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. In 2014, each Design Column exhibition will travel from Rotterdam to Hôtel Droog in Amsterdam after showing in Boijmans. In addition, round table discussions about the topics of the column will be organized at Droog as well. Starting January 15th with Design Column #6 Dataïsme! (photo: Lotte Stekelenburg).


Droog opens new branch in Hong Kong!

Posted:  December 11th 2013











Droog is very excited to announce the opening of our Hong Kong branch. Our second location is a small building in the heart of Soho, Hong Kong. The entire building is dedicated to Droog, from ground floor to the rooftop terrace. Next to a store, Droog Hong Kong offers a gallery, dining room, outdoor kitchen, rooftop terrace and The one and only bedroom number #2.

Droog curated several limited edition accessories for its Hong Kong customers. We will introduce one product every two weeks, and each item is limited to 100 pieces. The items include a bomb-shaped candle that reveals three star brooches when it melts. All the items are based on the process of upcycling. Droog Hong Kong will be serving the Hong Kong, Macau and Chinese mainland areas.

We hope to see you soon at Droog Hong Kong. You can find us at:
Droog Store Hong Kong
47 Square Street
Tai Ping Shan Street.