totally brill…or is it?

While in Amsterdam last month, I paid a visit to the Droog Store. If you are unfamiliar with Droog, it is a design company that creates products, clothing, and initiates projects. I was blown away by the store. It is a very inspiring place. Here is a particular item at Droog that caught my attention.




(In the Droog courtyard)

When I was telling a friend about my travels, I became really excited when the topic of Droog came up. I couldn’t wait to tell him about this bench! So simple, and so functional. But his response was…underwhelming. He did not see the brilliance behind this piece of furniture that I saw.

However, a few days later he posed to me a philosophical question about the bench. He really wanted to know why I found this design so appealing and he did not. To him, it is 3 backs of chairs stuck into a wooden log. Too simple. Anyone could have done it. It became a question of nature vs. nurture. Did I appreciate this design because of my art history and design education? And would I have been so drawn to this piece of furniture prior to my post-secondary education? Was it because he hadn’t studied design that he wasn’t able to understand my excitement towards a wooden log? Or is it really that brilliant?

This conversation really made me question why I found the bench so appealing. It was enlightening.

Readers, please let me know what you think. I would love to start a discussion about this.





Filed under artists i enjoy, totally brill

2 responses to “totally brill…or is it?

  1. I’d think it is because we as designers see what others don’t see. We are trained to ideate, visualize, create and build things that have yet to exist right?

    End users often do not see the point of an object until it is embedded into their environment… THEN they will begin to understand the function, implications and pleasure of using it…

    Taking a rather cliche(but easy to understand) example, the iPad was very much criticized prior to its release. Look at things now. The iPad is still the leading tablet since its debut 2 years ago.

    Comparing that to Jurgen Bey’s bench, just imagine how much stories/interaction the bench can generate when it is situated in a public space.

    • Very interesting Andrew.

      I think what struck me about the bench was that it was a marriage between nature and man-made design. Or even, man imposing it’s design on nature. Also, it’s as if the designer skipped a few steps (designing the seat and legs of the chair), but is still successful (i think). It is functional and is aesthetically pleasing. Simplification. Isn’t that what design is about?

      I guess the main difference between my friend and I is, as someone who has studied design, I understand that simplification often equals good design, and appreciate ideas like the Jurgen Bey bench that seem, well simple.

      I agree it should be in the public space!

      Thanks for your comments!

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