Simply Droog at the Museum of Arts and Design
First, an alert: today is the last day for this lively, provocative, excellent "greatest hits" exhibition from the Dutch design collective Droog, so if you're looking for something to do on what promises to be a rainy Sunday, let me just say that Scoboco had a blast talking about, exclaiming over ("that's so coooooooool" was a common Bo and Co refrain), or laughing at nearly every piece on display here.
The three of us loved everything about the show, from the clever product groupings ("Simplicity", "Familiar—not so familiar?", "Use it Again", to name three) to the way the room-by-room "blueprints" are laid out with tape, with black rubber silhouettes on the floor standing in for the missing items; to the superb little booklet they hand out with liner notes explaining the function of and the creative process behind each and every one of the 120 pieces. It's a near-perfect job of organizing and displaying the products, and enhancing the viewer's enjoyment and understanding of the experience.
In Dutch, Droog means "dry", a word which, in its many meanings, informs the sensibility of the collective's work: these designs are unadorned, simple, but almost always with a wry twist, or a bit of dry wit. Because this is a best-of show, there were certainly many familiar things here, but they're so beautiful and/or clever, we didn't mind seeing the likes of the milk-bottle hanging lamp again, or the waterfall shower, or the "Do Break" vase, in which a porcelain exterior is lined with silicon, and "you can break the vase after buying it. The silicon holds the bits together and you own a vase like no other." And I was delighted to come across one of my all-time favorite pieces, the "Come a little bit closer" bench—you sit on plastic discs which glide effortlessly back and forth over hundreds of glass marbles—which Debbie and I had played on a couple of years ago at a 67th Street Armory show.
Of course, there was also plenty that I had never seen before, such as the digital cuckoo clock, half-hidden inside a nest; the pantone mugs; the "handy burners", which turn your countertop into a stove; the parrafin table, complete with a dozen or so wicks embedded into the surface; the bath mat with built-in slippers; the dress made out of designer labels; and on and on and on. Really, I think the three of us spent at least a moment or two chatting over almost everything here. Simply Droog promises to encompass "10 + 3 years of creating innovation and discussion", and it definitely delivers.