Chair Sweet Chairs: 1990
ONE WEEK ABOUT Product Design by curator Toon Lauwen
Ruud Jan Kokke, Marcel Wanders, Piet Hein Eek, Tejo Remy, Ineke Hans, Richard Hutten, Jurgen Bey, Job Smeets and Joep van Lieshout all began designing chairs in their own workshop. They experimented with new constructions and materials, but they didn’t choose technique as their guiding principle. They are individualists who do not work in just one particular style and who try to transcend existing cultural conventions.
In the early ‘90s, all kinds of motivations popped up which Droog Design brought together under a single heading. The exhibition ‘Materiaal. Stof voor vormgeving’ (Material. Subject matter for design) in the Nieuwe Vlegel (New Wing) of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in the spring of 1992, was curated by Marjan Unger of Stichting Dutch Form (Foundation Dutch Form). It was a provocative show in which the state of affairs was visualized clearly. This situation could best be described as a wheelbarrow carrying frogs. Renny Ramakers, editor-in-chief of the magazine Industrieel Ontwerpen (Industrial Design) and later on Items, singled out the talents that would prove normative: Tejo Remy, Piet Hein Eek, Jan Konings & Jurgen Bey.
The most direct overture to Droog Design was Products of Imagination (POI), a project in which Ramakers together with product designer Ed Annink brought together concepts, products and new insights. The project ‘Chair Sweet Chair’, initiated 25 years back by Ed Annink, was a tangible manifesto. Ramakers wrote the catalogue and Wim Pijbes, currently Director of the Rijksmuseum (National Museum), was responsible for the production of the project which resulted in an exhibition at the Centraal Museum Utrecht. ‘Chair Sweet Chair’ was a challenging assignment for 15 designers from various disciplines who had to redesign an anonymous, unfinished maple chair based on their own creativity and style. The designers involved were Annink, Ulf Moritz, Bob Verheyden, Gerard Hadders and Gijs Bakker.