Over the next two weekends, New York's Governor's Island will host a design bonanza curated by Droog, the grande-dame of high-concept design. Curated by Ramakers, the co-founder of the pre-eminent Dutch design collective, Droog, the exhibit is part of NY400, a series of events around town sponsored by the Netherlands. Marking the 400th anniversary of the first Dutch exploration of New York.
Droog are an incredible design firm and I was totally inspired while working with them on a pan-European campaign a few years back, together with Mark Chalmers (who was CD at SF at the time and now runs Perfect Fools).
The campaign we created out of StrawberryFrog Amsterdam was to develop a pan-European campaign for Hoegaarden, the Belgian white beer. It was called "Welcome to the Hoegaarden". It was intended to awaken a premium beer brand in a saturated market is by thinking outside the crate. Our client at Interbrew envisioned Hoegaarden as a ‘discovery brand’ that trendsetters find for themselves and then talk about. To achieve this, we promoted a new culture that nudged Europe’s discerning middle youth away from laid back lounging towards fresh air and open-minded experiences. To stimulate trial, we were the first agency in the world to turn SMS virals into beer tokens. Our 'Sundaay Services' enticed the in-crowd to hang out at pre-selected bars. We worked with Droog and designer Frank Tjepkema to create the evolution of "lounge", with a new garden-themed furniture set for a new kind of bar scene, positioning Hoegaarden as a unique, natural drink that refreshes the mind. A ‘Saampler Tour’ led our curious target to the coolest DJs, the kookiest furniture and hip new art and fashion events throughout the year.
I have some of the digital work we did but unfortunately none of the images of the furniture we commissioned from Droog which was extraordinary. If I come across images I will post them.
If you have time the Droog design experience in NYC is a must see.
I’m in bed in my pajamas at the moment writing on my macAir, still dusty from too much airplane cabin air. I'm somewhere between Europe and New York, and early calls to Mumbai and Sao Paulo. Welcome to my day.
I just got back from Amsterdam and some other stops in Europe. Things are really starting to get homogenized out there. Lots of new Starbucks on lots of corners. Style is homogenized everywhere. I think it’s because of the force of the internet that is bringing us together as one. You could be in Amsterdam, Mumbai, Sao Paulo or New York and you see a really homogenized look happening. In Geneva there are the small old 1920s French bistros with hand drawn paintings of people of another world along with a delicious rösti a national dish (like a large latke) – but you have to look hard for it among the sushi bars. Talking about sushi, Japan is still a place you always see young people pushing the boundaries a lot in style, but overall fashion has become very conservative. The economic mood of the world has added to this. Flair is out, beige and black are in.
It used to be that traveling influenced a person’s style. Of course this still happens. Last week in Amsterdam I saw a very cool look of sneakers that I hadn’t seen before. I was very interested in these sneakers because they were hand painted, individually made for each consumer. It reminded me of an incredible shoe designer in India named Savia Jane who makes the most extraordinary sneakers, hand painted by hand.
When I started StrawberryFrog in Amsterdam with Karin, we used to travel with the agency every year someplace. Ballooning over the Ardennes, Marrakesh, Iceland, Istanbul – every year 100 frogs would gather from different places and conference while experiencing the local flavor and inspiration, visiting media companies, creative companies, inspiring clients and thinkers. Reykjavik was the craziest trip. Istanbul brought frogs from the Americas and Europe together.
Travel is a part of me and a part of the agency. Our clients are global so there's a lot of travel for meetings and for research and in new and different organizational structures. One assignment I've been working on is a huge ecommerce/social media site for a massive Brazilian beauty brand that will span three continents. Lots of airmiles and hotel breakfasts behind that work.
Traveling has always been a passion. I have time to think more when I travel. But travel is a double-edged sword. I am sure that anyone who travels with work knows how lonely it can be when you’re wide awake in the Park Amsterdam hotel at 3 am in the morning in between two important client presentations. The hotel has recently undergone a massive renovation and was a delight to stay in. But I really do love the people I work with – they are truly inspiring especially when we are traveling, and we can laugh together when we are on the road delirious from lack of sleep and too many short haul flights and bad coffee.
One inspiration for me is Peter Beard the incredible African photographer who captures the adventure of travel, the way one must have it in your mind when you’re off to some new and distant land. It’s incredible to have his words and images in mind. There’s an amazing hotel in Arles France of all places that has one of the best original collections of his work, called Nord Pinus. A gem of a place.