House of Utilitarian Reverie

What happens when you mix conceptualism with measured pragmatism sprinkled with intellectual imagination? You may conjure something akin to Droog if you’re fortunate, the Dutch gallery/furnishings boutique that approaches design with a wry wit that challenges us to rethink the everyday. Founded in ’93 by art critic/historian Renny Ramakers and designer Gijs Bakker as an anti-statement, Droog reflects an innovative, yet grounded creative mentality that opposes the high style and form-dominant schools of design. Opening its third flagship worldwide in nyc, Droog partnered with Dutch designers Studio Makkink & Bey to break all codes of store design. Everything in the 5000 sq ft space is for sale, including objects, fittings, architecture — even the cash register. Function follows form, and objects are juxtaposed in ways that combine fantasy and imagination with utility. A bench was created from a tree log punctuated with backings. Bound bags of recycled clothing and piled rags form a chair. Self-assembly doesn’t involve ikea slots and pegs, but a sledge hammer with which to bang out your own chair from a metal cube — a hefty $2,000 savings as opposed to having the designer do it for you. A more affordable piece is the shirt lamp, which consists of a hanger and suspended light; you provide the shirt. House of Blue stands as the store’s centerpiece, constructed from baby blue polyurethane blocks. A retailer of conceptual objects and interior outfitter, Droog offers custom creations and even pieces of itself to accent your home. With an ethos that values what it is to be human, each Droog product tells a story with themes such as memories, nature and handcraftsmanship, to renew perspectives on design and the world around us.

— Hillary Latos