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Droog makes surprising move to Las Vegas

Dutch design platform Droog moves its American portal from New York to Las Vegas.

By Jeroen Junte / 08-12-2010

On 15 December, 2010, the new Droog Gallery will open in a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip which features 3000 rooms, a casino and a theater.

The fact that the New York gallery of Dutch design platform Droog closed almost overnight last month was quite a surprise. The Droog Gallery, situated on the prestigious Greene Street in the arty SoHo neighborhood, had only been open for little under two years. An even bigger surprise is the opening of another Droog gallery, barely a month later. It's in Las Vegas, situated on The Strip, the main street of this surrealist gambling paradise in the American desert.

"We were offered a very lucrative deal this summer for the gallery space in The Cosmopolitan hotel, one of Las Vegas's eye-catchers featuring 3000 rooms, a casino and a theatre," says Ramakers. "After some major renovations the hotel, located in the middle of The Strip, will reopen on 15 December, 2010. To fill our new 250-square-metre gallery, we needed to empty almost the entire New York gallery. Mainly because the larger, more expensive pieces aren't stocked and can't be produced within a few months. So in effect, the New York gallery was empty. Then, someone turned up who wanted to take over the lease on the property and we took the offer. A building over two storeys, connected by a steep staircase just wasn't the ideal location for a gallery."

Ramakers doesn't deny these are hard times for the New York gallery scene; even the renowned gallery owner Murray Moss only just managed to stop the closure of his showroom this autumn, following a claim by the American tax authority. "The decisive point for the move was the fact that it's just too much work for us to run two retail shops and the American dealership for the brands Thomas Eyck and Lensvelt."

It's still a remarkable choice by Droog to trade New York for Las Vegas. Even Ramakers never anticipated opening a gallery in a casino hotel, she admits. "In addition to the space, we're given the chance to organize three events a year. In New York you don't come across this kind of opportunities that quickly."

Ramakers is convinced that conceptual design by Droog will be successful in Las Vegas. "You can buy whatever you want here. There are five Prada stores alone. But there isn't a single design shop. Of course we will adapt the collection to include products that will give the visitor a surprising experience, for instance the Knikkerbank (marble bench) which allows people to slide towards each other, or the Lucky Cat, a pinball game that players can only win through luck."

Droog's American head office will remain in New York, from where the sales and distribution of the Droog collection, Thomas Eyck and Lensvelt is coordinated. Ramakers doesn't rule out the opening of another New York gallery in the future. "As soon as everything is up and running in Las Vegas, we'll start looking for a new location. For a shop in New York, it's not at all strange to close and then reopen in a different spot."

Main image: Droog's New York Gallery, photo: Ian Tong
Other images top to bottom: 1. Droog NY, 2. Droog NY, 3. Droog NY, photos: Ian Tong 4. Lucky Cat, photo: Robaard/Theuwkens

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