“We like to connect experts from complementary disciplines to designers.”—Renny Ramakers

Renny Ramakers + Gijs Bakker: Co-Founders, Droog / Amsterdam, NL

“we like to connect experts from complementary disciplines to designers.”—renny ramakers

Interview with Renny Ramakers:

Can you talk about the early Droog collaboration with Gijs Bakker? What was the origin the team and what was your process?
Gijs Bakker and I made the same observations at that time—observations about a new wave in design, which we both wanted to present through an international stage. That’s why we started our collaboration. In the early years, Droog was more of a hobby than a company. Every year, we selected designs to be presented during the Furniture Fair in Milan, and we always did this together. If one of us did not agree in this process, he or she had to convince the other. If not, the product was out.

How has the nature of collaboration evolved as Droog expanded?
I read in many publications that Droog is a collective. But I want to emphasize once more, that we are not, and never have been. We started as a collaboration of two people, Gijs and me. This collaboration turned into a foundation (for research and experimental projects) and a company (selling products and working on commissions). We commission the designers that we have been working with, like any other company does. And in the foundation, we have been working with designers on experimental projects, through more of a collaborative level.

We have always been working with all kinds of partners, whether from the art and design world or scientists and entrepreneurs. We like to connect experts from complementary disciplines to designers. These alliances lead to innovation.

We collaborate on two levels:

1) The design. We welcome the input of knowledge and expertise for the design itself and for the system needed to realize a design.

2) The system. We work with experts who bring in knowledge that is relevant for the development of a new model (for instance, downloadable design or upcycling).

Our projects are always open-ended. There is always space for new ideas, a re-interpretation of the initial concept, or turning things upside down.

How does your art historian’s Big Picture perspective impact how you view Droog?
I see myself as a performative art historian. I am not so much influenced by art history as such. I am more influenced by what happens at the present. But my education as an art historian has definitely shaped the way that I look at the world around me, my drive to be cutting edge, and my ability to think beyond the box, while also connecting design to the big technological, social, and economic challenges that we are facing now—to connect theory to practice.