For Droog, home is where the Lego buffet is
Wed, Feb 23, 2011 (1:50 p.m.)
Photo: Justin M. Bowen
If you’ve wandered into Droog at the Cosmopolitan recently, you’ll likely have noticed a new piece of furniture: a mid-century-modern-style buffet made entirely of 26,000 Lego pieces.
Like everything else in the store, the Reitveld buffet is undeniably an impressive work, whether through craft or concept. It’s characteristic of Droog’s design mentality—repurposing materials to create something functional, be it a stylish work or an ode to anti-style. And like everything else in the store, there’s a cleverness to it that’s likely to draw a smile. The word Droog, Dutch for dry (as in dry humor) sums up the playful experience of visiting the 2,500-square-foot Marcel Schmalgemeijer-designed space facing Las Vegas Boulevard. Passersby gawk at the high-end DIY-style works: Tejo Remy’s Rag Chair made of tightly bound discarded clothing, or his Chest of Drawers (priced at $65,000), a bound stack of found drawers that can be rearranged by the owner.
The hybrid gallery/museum/store co-founded by Renny Ramakers features innovative designs by unknown and highly celebrated designers, some of whom incorporate found objects and discarded material in projects. Others are just plain fun. The Do Hit Chair, a stainless steel box, requires a sledgehammer for shaping, and the Come a Little Bit Closer Bench seats users on plates that roll across loose marbles.
Beyond the contemporary design-meets-science-fair whimsy, however, is the more serious attention paid toward consumerism gone wild, biodiversity, conservation and global awareness, all of which Droog proves can be folded into award-winning design: The extremely lightweight Seam chair and bench are made from a non-toxic industrial material formed by sand. Sales of its Cleanup soap, shaped as a land mine, help raise funds for land mine removal and survivor assistance, says general manager Heidi Rice. Similarly, sales from a shelf titled Limited Fungi, which features renditions of numbered endangered mushrooms sprouting up, go toward efforts to save the species. Godogan, an intricately carved walnut table, was designed to employ Indonesian craftsman.
Most of these works come with a high price. But not to worry. If you don’t have the cash for the 175-pound Dawn to Dusk mirror, which can be rotated to reflect the time of day and sells for $16,000, or $28,000 for the Skin Furniture prototype (tall table and chairs) co-designed by Brad Pitt, who owns the real one, there’s always an assortment of clever home accessories priced under $100. With the New York store now closed, Las Vegas is the only offshoot of the flagship in Amsterdam.