Jürgen Bey - Design New York Tuesday, December 16, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Friedman Benda, New York

  • Literature

    Droog & Dutch Design, From Product to Fashion, exh. cat., Centraal Museum, Utrecht, 2000, pp. 3, 66 and 155; Anneke Moors and Renny Ramakers, eds., Simply Droog, Amsterdam, 2006, p. 161; Droog Design, A Human Touch, exh. cat., Amsterdam, 2006, p. 146

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot is one of four existing examples. The other three are held in the collections of Die Neue Sammlung, Munich, Centraal Museum Utrecht, and at Droog institutional collection.
    ‘Droog’ in Dutch means ‘dry’, as in food without garnish, wine without sugar, or provisions in the pantry safe from moisture. Gijs Bakker and Renny Ramakers may object, but when they founded Droog Design in 1993, they evoked a further meaning: ‘friend’ in the argot of Alex, anti-hero of A Clockwork Orange. Despite the bedlam, Alex remains a true independent and the book, in its original edition, resolves through awakening and spiritual conversion.      
    Planned obsolescence is a crime of Western culture: we’re awash with newness. As trite as it sounds, we must reach dry ground. In his work for Droog, Jurgen Bey steers through shoals of change: he demonstrates that conservation and recycling don’t preclude our impulse to contrive and build; and newness needn’t be at the expense of the past. Bey’s "Tree-Trunk Bench" (1999) comprises a fallen tree embellished with antique chair backs cast in bronze, an affable tribute to nature, decay, and classic design—why must we deny Thonet’s support?
    Disorder in nature is a certainty, so too our compulsion to order it. "Gardening" bench (1999) concedes both. Extruded from garden waste—hay, leaves, bark—this rigidly formed seat will decompose if left outside. But the bench is endless, or rather ceaseless, for it will grow with the seasons when fed organic matter. Compost by definition provides physical support for life to flourish—so does design.


Rare "Gardening" bench

Resin, straw. 
55 x 29 x 16 1/4 in. (139.7 x 73.7 x 41.3 cm.)
Produced for Droog Design, The Netherlands.  One of four existing examples. 

$50,000 - 70,000 


17 Dec 2008 2pm
New York