by Lauren Bailes

My little trip to Amsterdam...

The designs in Amsterdam seem to challenge the way in which objects work, creating new ways to use them. Throughout the city from the department stores to small independent stores there were new designers I hadn’t seen before that tested the boundaries of design and how products work. Hotel Droog is an obvious example of this, designing products that create question and debate to their actual purpose.

Meeting Room

Droog collaborate with designers as well as create their own products. They offer gallery spaces, a cafe, a clothes store, and apartment to rent. All of which allow you to use and be part of their products and designs which you can they buy in the shop after. Droog work with a range of designers and create exhibitions and design festivals around the world. For me their focus seems to be on the experience they create with their products and spaces rather than just the products themselves.

Upon arrival to Droog you enter their shop and find lots of places to explore beyond. Each room creates a scenario for their products which suggests the purpose but this is still up for debate. Every product is new and innovative. Through their designs they don’t focus on the shortest solution to the problem or the quickest way for the process but they focus on the experience that the product gives.

The meeting room here shows a wall to ceiling bookshelf most of these books were empty books which I presume were for giving out at the beginning of meetings which I think is a great added touch that anyone can apply. The idea is small but I think it would bring an idea of welcome; it’s like the next step up from a cup of tea.

There are so many amazing products that I can only begin to list a few… so here’s some of my favourites while visiting Droog

Collection of functional tiles

1. First up is a collection of ‘functional tiles’ by Anout Visser, Erik Jan Kwakkel, Peter van der Jagt. They used these tiles within their cafe and had them for sale in their shop. It demonstrates that most of what you need for a kitchen or bathroom can be implemented into a tile format. This I feel could be adapted well for city living when they offer a fully tiled wet room with no storage or accessories. It could also work for rented properties where attaching to the walls is not allowed. The chalk board is purely chalk paint applied to the tile which could be great for family kitchens or playful bathrooms.

2. Below shows the ‘Rag Chair’ by Tejo Remy , this was one of the first products Droog began with, The chair is layered from 15 bags worth of rags. Upon request when purchased the owner can choose to recycle their own clothes into the chair. The method of construction obviously means that each piece is unique, which explains the hefty price tag. My favourite here isn’t just the Rag Chair but the room as a whole, creating an empty open space with the focus purely on the back wall and seating corner directs you straight to that area and before you know it your sat on their products.

Rag Chair

3. Treetrunk Bench by Jurgen Bey 1999. This was found as a seating option to Droog’s fashion shop/showcase, so again the product has a specific purpose and of course creates discussion. This is seen as a crossover with nature, ‘A fallen tree can serve as a seat. The addition of bronze classic chair backs makes it a proper piece of furniture’. Only the chair backs are actually for sale with this product as Jurgen Bey makes it clear how its ‘ridiculous’ to transport tree trunks when they can be locally available.

Tree trunk chair

4. Lounge of Layers. This is quite a recent design by Droog which involved a stack of cushions stitched together to create the sofa sandwich. This can be chosen in a range of fabrics and is in their apartment that you can stay in, so if you really did want to consider your purchase along with a little night away you could stay in their hotel and have a trial shift with the products. I love that there is no need for accessorising this product everything is very minimal and clean.

5. These aren’t products as such (although these were amazing) but the whole experience created. From the cake that was cooling on the side fresh out of the stove or the coffee mugs that were made with earthenware but with the look of a ‘crushed plastic cup’. The water dispenser is a prime example of how they design products not for the simplest method of process but they use clever designs to create an exciting experience. It was like being back in school taking part in a science experiment and created a great atmosphere and talking point around the table. (This product requires some practice…we did get water everywhere!)

Crushed plastic cups

There are so many more products and designs by Droog and their collaborative designers that this post could be endless so here is a just a few more that caught my eye.

Various products and designs

Rebecca Reeves – Junior Interior Designer