Droog30 at Triennale MDW23

Droog30. Design or Non-design?

Milano Design Week at Triennale is set to feature one of the most eagerly awaited projects, the Droog30 exhibition, which is being presented by Triennale Milano and the Nieuwe Instituut. Curated by Maria Cristina Didero and Richard Hutten, one of the founders of the Droog collective, the exhibition celebrates 30 years of activities and ideas. The Dutch designers of Droog first made themselves known to an international audience during their first exhibition in Milan in 1993.

Richard Hutten and Maria Cristina Didero. Photo credit@ Richard Hutten

Maria Cristina Didero, curator of the exhibition, emphasizes Droog’s diverse approach to design and wealth of ideas, which became known worldwide during the year the group of young designers made their mark. Richard Hutten, curator of the exhibition and founder of Droog, says that Droog Design made an unerasable impact on the design world with their first disruptive show, which took place in Milan. He adds that Droog is the last big movement in design since there was no internet and mobile phones back then. Today, social media has changed the landscape of design, which is why they used the internet to crowdsource opinions and anecdotes to investigate the influence Droog had and still has.

Droog30, Design or Non design, foto © Gianluca Di Ioia

The exhibition brings together a selection of the most iconic objects designed by members of Droog over the years, illustrating the collective’s commitment to making design accessible to all. The exhibits include Chest of Drawers, a cabinet designed by Tejo Remy, the Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders, and Cross, a cross-shaped table with a bench designed by Richard Hutten. The exhibition also opens up to a more experiential approach, interacting with social media. Comments collected via the Twitter account @Droog30 and the Instagram accounts of Triennale Milano and the Nieuwe Instituut are posted on the walls, exploring the group’s impact through the impressions and memories of those who were part of its history.

A section of the exhibition is dedicated to Bring your own Droog, where the public can suggest their own projects for Droog. The exhibition also features an original film, directed by Francesca Molteni and specially made for the occasion, with numerous interviews with some of the members of Droog, who talk about their ideas, stories, experiences, and what Droog has become today.

Droog30, Design or Non design, foto © Gianluca Di Ioia

The name “Droog” means “dry” in Dutch, which reflects the linear forms and great communicative power of the group’s designs. The creatives at Droog ventured beyond the field of design, tackling social and political issues. The group questioned the role of the industry by prioritizing freedom of expression and breaking through traditional concepts of function and comfort, prioritizing unexpected solutions. The exhibition aims to bring together an unpredictable collection of objects that celebrate the creativity of Droog.

According to Aric Chen, the general and artistic director of the Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, Droog brought its dry wit and subversive tendencies to a global audience, and design would never be the same again. He adds that when looking back over its history, we wonder how far we have come since then, and where we are heading from here.

Droog30 is a traveling exhibition that will open on May 2, 2023, at the Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam after its presentation at Triennale Milano. The exhibition is made possible thanks to Institutional Partners Lavazza Group and Salone del Mobile.Milano. Stefano Boeri, the president of Triennale Milano, says that over the years, the creatives at Droog have managed to conceive objects that have shifted the boundaries of design, opening up areas, such as sustainability, that are still at the center of contemporary debate, but always with an experimental approach.

Droog Design, Presentation Milan April 20-25 1993 credit@ Droog foundation

Droog30. Design or Non-design?

Location: Triennale di Milano

Duration: April 15th – April 23rd, 2023

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