Photo credit: Rag Chair by Tejo Remy. Photography by Lisa Gaudaire.
From 2 May 2023, Het Nieuwe Instituut will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the innovative and contrarian Dutch design collective Droog. The exhibition 'Droog30. Design or Non-design?' shows iconic and groundbreaking designs from a brand that has been as controversial as it is beloved over the years.
'Droog30. Design or Non-design?' celebrates Droog's bold and rebellious existence, as well as the renewed appreciation for the iconic Dutch brand. Ever since its founding in Milan in 1993, Droog has been doing things differently. The brand opposed 'dry' functional design and saw design as an art form that was allowed to contain humour and should be accessible to everyone.
In doing so, Droog created its very own, groundbreaking design movement that was not just a trend, but a game-changer. Droog's way of thinking has been copied by countless brands over the past 30 years, while the brand's designs found their way to, for instance, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Aric Chen, general and artistic director of the New Institute: “Droog brought its dry humour and subversive designs to a global audience – and design would never be the same again. The brand made its mark on the world 30 years ago as the last design movement before the advent of the internet. Looking back on that history, we can ask ourselves not only how far we have come since then, but also where it goes from here.”
In the exhibition, curators Maria Cristina Didero and Richard Hutten - one of Droog's founders – show the impact of the brand since its inception until today. Naturally, iconic, witty, controversial and sometimes downright bizarre designs from its 30-year history are represented. Such as Tejo Remy's Chest of Drawers, Marcel Wanders' Knotted Chair and Cross, Hutten's own cross-shaped table and bench.
There is also video footage, created especially for the exhibition by curator Maria Cristina Didero and director Francesca Molteni, featuring anecdotes from Droog's designers and interviews with other experts from the design world.
In addition, in line with Droog's contrarian mentality, visitors will have the chance to share their views on the brand. An interactive space will display the uncensored reactions and comments left by fans and critics on social media. Visitors are encouraged to post a comment too.
'Droog30. Design or Non-design?' is a collaboration between the New Institute, Droog and Triennale Milano. The exhibition can be seen in Milan from 15 to 23 April during Milano Design Week / Salone del Mobile and then from 2 May to 27 August at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.