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Droog debuts in New York

Droog's greatest hits came to town with the opening of their New York store. The impermanent retail interior is entirely for sale from the backdrop right down to the vitrines displaying the products.

By No author / 04-03-2009

The day of Droog’s officially opening a retail outpost in New York, the place was still aflutter with the various electric screwdriver–wielding elves charged with putting it in order. There was a hidden benefit of the incomplete scene—all the more room for revelers and well-wishers to pack the party held the previous night.

Although the Soho warehouse containing this newest satellite is attributed to New York architect Isaac F. Duckworth, none of the inauguration attendees could seem to remember exactly what had existed at the location prior to Droog’s claiming the space. Perhaps a few sample sales? In contrast, the new store livens up the historic cast-iron columns and exposed structural ceilings in a way that is wholly memorable. The interior is designed by Studio Makkink & Bey, and it is distinct from Droog’s five-year-old store in Amsterdam and the Tokyo showroom opened last June.

A first glimpse reveals Droog’s greatest hits. The 100th piece in Tejo Remy’s 200-edition Chest of Drawers sits in one window. (To mark the halfway point, this composition includes a non-functioning drawer in which a golden pistol, line of cocaine, string of pearls, and other accoutrements of the luxe life are encased in acrylic.) In the other, 85 Lamps by Rody Graumans casts a soft glow on the Tree-Trunk Bench designed by Studio Makkink & Bey namesake Jurgen Bey. The front display also includes a new classic: one of 12 Limited Fungi shelves by Katharina Mischer. Yet seeking newer or less familiar wares require exploring the depths of the store. Toward the rear sits one of Atelier van Lieshout’s limited-edition, self-explanatorily titled Body Tables, and further back, the fifth and last of Mario Minale’s Red Blue Lego Chairs. In the cellar, Marcel Wanders’s Swing With the Plants overlooks two piles of tufted wool carpets featuring the poster designs of longtime Droog collaborator Thonik.

Perusing the limited editions, economic depressives may want to smash open Remy’s acrylic drawer, reach for that golden pistol, and self-inflict. Yet more prescient New Yorkers are grateful for Droog’s all-out American arrival. “At a time when everyone is rediscovering the pleasures of rice and beans at dinner, it is not an entirely bad thing to introduce some lightness and whimsy into our daily lives,” Museum of Arts and Design chief curator David Revere McFadden posits. “Droog designs may not change the course of world events, but they might be able to soften the blows of reality.”

Visitors should not only delight in Droog’s product line, but also in the new acts of invention that are specific to the New York store. The rail of the stairwell linking ground floor to cellar, for example, sprouts poplar tables of varying shapes that Bey designed and CNC-fabricated. Most notably, Studio Makkink & Bey installed House of Blue—a series of highly detailed (nail holes, herringbone patterns, wood grain) house sections made of sky-blue polyurethane foam block—as the interior’s centerpiece, and a series of deconstructed desks and product-display cases in walnut, pine, and flocked wood in the area of the cash register. Everything is for sale. And once they’re dismantled and out the door, Bey promises to design completely original houses and vitrines to replace them. Foam chimney or staircase anyone?

Main image + images 1-3, Photography: Ian Tong
Images 4-9, Photography: Dave Pinter /

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