Renny Ramakers is co-founder and creative director of Amsterdam-based design company Droog and initiates projects, curates exhibitions, and gives lectures worldwide. Educated as an art historian at the University of Leiden, she has since been more interested in making history by stretching the borders of design thinking. Ramakers is our guest of honour during this month's edition of Dutch Masters and she will bring along Dutch Talent Mark van der Net!
Dutch Master: / Dutch Talent:
Renny Ramakers, co-founder and director of Droog, curates design exhibitions, writes publications, is a judging panelist on various design boards, leads lectures and workshops worldwide and advised on governmental advisory boards – among others as a member of the Dutch Council of Culture (1995-2001). She started Droog in 1993 with Gijs Bakker, as an anti-statement that opposed the high style and form-based world of design. In contrast, Droog proposes a highly conceptual approach and with their no-nonsense, down-to-earth design mentality they create products, projects and events around the world in collaboration with designers, clients and partners. This mentality with a human touch is also encapsulated in hospitality experience Hotel Droog, a place in the historical heart of Amsterdam where you can eat, shop, debate, relax and even spend the night:
‘The capacity of design does not only express itself through products, graphics or garments but also through tools, services, scenarios, new business models and other ways of benefitting society,’ Ramakers once said. In 2014, Ramakers initiated Design+Desires. Dedicated to explore how dreams, passions and needs of city dwellers can shape the city of the 21st century, the program envisions user-centered urban planning on a human scale. ‘The world has recently changed so much due to globalisation and technological developments, it’s now time to change the city.’ Through a range of design projects, educational projects, academic research, exhibitions, citizen surveys, debates and expert meetings, the program aims to tackle existing problems in the city and create new opportunities, both in theory and practice, with the ultimate goal of creating an alternative model for urban planning.
Renny brings along Mark van der Net tonight, founder of OSCity. Mark – graduated in electrical engineering and architecture & urban planning at TU Eindhoven, operates at the interface of technology and culture, exploring the ways in which science and technology challenge existing cultural structures while those structures – in turn – shape the development of technologies and science. In 2013, he created the free online platform Open Source City, an open data platform that invites everyone to discover the potential of cutting-edge information technology for serving the common good. What would happen if spatial planning worked more like the open-source movement? Mark also co-founded The Hermit Houses, a collection of design houses in which they experiment with new production methods in the construction industry.
Mark and Renny worked together last year on Social City, an online platform presented at last year’s Beijing Design Week that invites citizens all over the world to share their dreams, desires and needs. It’s an exploration on how a city would look like when it is built on this input as a starting point and without the limitations of a physical reality. It’s an ongoing project and you can join Social City too! Create your avatar, meet others and see (y)our Social City grow: