At a gathering in the Vitra Design Museum I interviewed founder Renny Ramakers of Droog Design for Premsela’s series Pioneers of Industrial Culture. Download the free iTunes podcast here. I also toured the Vitra campus – a true architects’ playground – and saw the exhibition Confrontations, for which five Dutch designers worked together with local Swiss designers (more on that in my next Observation).
As we move from an industrial to a post-industrial and a digital culture, the nature of design is changing and Droog Design is leading the way. Ramakers is sceptical, however, about the extent to which consumers want to design their own products – so-called open design. ‘They want to have choices, but they do not want to take the place of the designer.’ In all the talk of open design and new technology she fears that esthetics seem to be disappearing.
‘The new culture of design is about collaboration, and about new forms of craftsmanship that are made possible by technological networks.’ That, combined with the growing scarcity of materials, gives rise to new business models. At the Droog presentation in Milan this year, ‘Material Matters’, there was hardly a product in sight. It was all about new businesses that will arise now that we are rediscovering new uses for leftover materials. ‘We call that UP!: the upgrading of leftovers into new materials with new value.’
Photos: Een van de vele kamers in de 3300 m2 grote showroom van Vitra | de beroemde Eames-stoel van Vitra ondergaat een stresstest | Renny Ramakers in gesprek met Tracy Metz (foto Barbara Kern)