Sunday, 27 July 2014

Droog





Located in Staalstraat in Amsterdam, in a 17th century building where 'Staalmeesters' met to sample products of the textile industry, the Droog flagship store is great fun to visit. The Droog Design group is a design collective based in Amsterdam whose work has garnered international fame and to a large extent has defined Dutch design internationally. Founded in 1993 by product designer Gijs Bakker and design historian Renny Ramakers, the brand shares the simplicity of minimalism, but deploys humour - albeit a dry or 'droog' humour: the work is witty, clever and practical. Discarded or unlikely materials are often used to style familiar objects anew and in the process a dry commentary on the too-often all-surface/no substance world of design is delivered.



 

Rudy Graumans' 85 bulb chandelier, seen through the window, is an inspired example of lateral thinking in design - it's impossible not to smile at the verve with which the designer has transformed an everyday object like a standard light bulb into a spectacular chandelier.




 
Droog works with independent designers to design and realize products, projects, exhibitions and events.
 
 





great form and colours
 
 
 



One more view of the first room in the shop before moving into




 
the garden which we had not seen before
 
 
 

 
a small intimate garden with real plants but astro turf for the paths
 
 
 

 
Droog design seating
 
 
 

 
and a giant mushroom in the middle
 
 
 

 
back indoors through a different door
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
Dutchtub - note the pipes
 
 
 

 
Tejo Remy's chair, made out of strapped-together rags
 
 
 


Tejo Remy's loosely bundled set of found drawers, randomly stacked on top of each other and tied together with strong cord. Droog says Tejo Remy's chest is a criticism on overproduction and consumerism. His deliberate improvisation is also a protest against the increasing complexity of the design profession. The chest has no fixed form - the drawers can be combined and exchanged at will.




 
The store is big
 

 
 

 
 
 
 

 
another chest of drawers made out of greengrocers' crates this time
 

 
 

 
the humour, in the form of the spilled coffee in these cups, is evident here.
 

 
 
 
 

Friday, 25 July 2014

A fairy tale in an enchanted setting


 
Vouliagmeni Lake, near Athens.
 
 

 


I have written about the lake in Vouliagmeni before, and you can see the post here where I described the lake and how I feel when I am there, but where I also drew juxtapositions between the lake, which is a lacuna, and Barbara Kingsolver's novel The Lacuna.





Swimming was not the reason for our visit this time, however. We went to see the play Ondine, written by Jean Giraudoux, and performed by the Naan group. When we got there we found out that the play was not going to be performed in the lake itself, but the Small Lake. When I told the official that we did not know the Small Lake existed, he said that no one did, this was the fist time that it had been opened to the public, specifically for this performance.




 
We sat by the lake and had an early supper. At 9:00 we made our way to the small lake
 

 
 
 
 
It's a very small lake, tiny, and this made the whole experience immediate and very intimate
 
 
 

 
 
four rows of seating on two sides and the rock majestically rising on the other two
 
 
 


the stage on the right was partially submerged in the water and most of the action happened either on that stage or in the water



 

 
we were enchanted the whole time - it was a magical experience. I sat on the edge of my seat and did not want the performance to end.
 
 
 
 

 
Very clever lighting
 
 

 
 


that enhanced the rock





 
Ondine is a passionate love story.
 
 
 



Auguste and Eugenie are impoverished folk earning a living on the edge of a lake in the Black Forest.






A baby they found at the water's edge when their own child was lost has grown up to become a strangely enchanted creature they have named Ondine (or Little Wave)






Impulsive, frank and filled with wonder, Ondine is a creature of water and air, riding the storm at night, spontaneously performing little feats of magic and driving her aging adoptive parents crazy with her whims and unpredictability.






The arrival of Hans, a knight in shining armour changes all that. Ondine falls in love with him







and despite warnings from her watery friends from the lake's nether regions, she determines to marry him.






Her parents try to make her see sense






 but to no avail







she's head over heels - her face lights up whenever she sees Hans







and she will listen to no one







This ethereal spirit creature crashes headlong into the petty squabbles and paltry deceptions of human affairs.







One can get hurt that way, and she does.






The two worlds don't mix.







Hans betrays her






and she's heartbroken.






Her mentor from the watery deep, known simply as the Old One, furtively monitors Ondine's travails,







finally offering perfect amnesia as the kindest absolution.




 

 
I felt privileged being in this very small, intimate, natural space which is a wonder.
 

 


 
A few more shots as we were leaving
 

 
 

 
This rock is amazing
 

 
 

 
I wish they would open up the small lake for swimming
 

 
 


 
and hopefully there will be other productions
 

 
 
 

 
You can see here how the stage is partially submerged
 

 
 
 


Finally, on the way out, the main lake.


A wonderful evening.