Droog toasts 30 years of irreverent design

Dutch design collective Droog presents an exhibition at Triennale during Milan Design Week 2023, curated by Maria Cristina Didero and Richard Hutten and celebrating its 30th anniversary

Droog Trunk bench
(Image credit: Courtesy Triennale)

Irreverent and rebellious, Dutch design collective Droog held its first Milan presentation in 1993. Thirty years on, Milan’s Triennale and Rotterdam’s Het Nieuwe Instituut present ‘Droog30. Design or Non-design?’, assembled by independent curator and Wallpaper* Milan Editor Maria Cristina Didero and Richard Hutten, Droog founding member alongside fellow designers including Gijs Bakker and Renny Ramakers. The collective’s name is a Dutch word meaning ‘dry’, indicating a general preference for a minimalist and essential approach to design.

Droog at 30: a revolutionary take on design

Droog chest of drawers by Tejo Remy

‘You Can't Lay Down Your Memories’ by Tejo Remy 

(Image credit: Courtesy Triennale)

‘Droog can be considered one of the last movements of the 20th century, it was the explosion of a shared common sensibility,’ comments Didero. ‘Their revolutionary idea lay in an approach towards the object that was more conceptual and less functional: even if the function was there, they started from a more artistic approach, compared to the typical one that characterised the designers of the time.’

Maria Cristina Didero and Richard Hutten

Hutten and Didero in a Droog-style portrait

(Image credit: Droog)

The exhibition revisits some of Droog’s most memorable pieces, from Tejo Remy’s ‘Chest of Drawers’ (a series of individual drawers haphazardly fastened together with a belt), to Marcel Wanders’ ‘Knotted Chair’ and Hutton’s cross-shaped table. 

Held at Triennale during Milan Design Week, the exhibition will also feature notes and comments from the global design community, gathered by Didero and Hutten via Twitter account @Droog30, to demonstrate the collective’s impact through the memories and points of view of those who have been observing its work and history.

Droog 30 years exhibition piece, a table and seating in the form of a cross

‘The Cross’ table and seating unit by Richard Hutten

(Image credit: Courtesy Triennale)

‘A group of young and unscrupulous Dutch designers who created their own projects in a relatively isolated context had come to exhibit in Milan with great success,’ says Hutten. ‘Probably today, with Instagram and other social media platforms, it would be unlikely that such an episode will repeat itself, and that is why we used the internet to collect opinions and anecdotes, questioning ourselves on the influence Droog had and still has. An algorithm then has decided which objects to exhibit. But above all, this exhibition is a celebration of Droog's creativity.’

‘Droog30 – Design or non-design?’ Is an itinerant exhibition curated by Maria Cristina Didero and Richard Hutten

Triennale (Viale Emilio Alemagna, 6, Milano), 15-23 April 2023

Het Nieuwe Instituut, (Museumpark 25, Rotterdam), 2 May – 27 august 2023


Droog 30 years exhibition piece: knotted chair

Marcel Wanders’ ‘Knotted Chair’

(Image credit: Courtesy Triennale)

Droog 30 years

Teapot by Richard Hutten

(Image credit: Courtesy Triennale)

Droog 30 years

Highchair by Maartje Steenkamp

(Image credit: Courtesy Triennale)

Droog 30 years

Hole chair by Gijs Bakker

(Image credit: Courtesy Triennale)

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.