From Lille with Love

Lille is situated on an interesting spot. It is the international junction between Brussels, London and Paris and the city is right in the border area where French and Flemish culture meet. Apart from that it is in the middle of a region with a rich industrial tradition in glass, ceramics and textile. That has provided Droog with a range of opportunities to try and develop special products with regional companies for Lille as the Cultural Capital of Europe. Gijs Bakker led a group of designers and challenged them to come up with new ideas, and they did.

The biggest company involved was no doubt ARC international. It produces all kinds of glass products and is a leader on the world market. Salviati, an Italian company that Droog worked with earlier, is part of it. Wieki Somers (The Netherlands, 1976), Arnout Visser (The Netherlands, 1962) and Gijs Bakker (The Netherlands, 1942)  himself experimented with the limits of their potential.

Bakker says: ‘Because glass is a mass industry with a high investment level we brainstormed about the brief and decided we would start from existing products. Still it was one hell of a job, mainly because everything happened behind closed doors. We provided the plans and had to wait for the results, sometimes for a couple of months. There was no direct designing interaction. But in the end it worked out very well.’

The products have been developed in cooperation with regional industry: glass giant ARC International in Arques, ceramic industry Faiencerie d’Arc de Dèvres, lace manufacturer Desseilles Textiles SAS in Calais and high tech fibre producers Dubar-Warneton and Rubans Gallant in Roubaix.