I produced this project as part of my first semester in the Design Academy Eindhoven’s Masters program. Asked to reinterpret a classic object of design, I was taken with Tejo Remy’s “You can’t lay down your memory” Chest of Drawers, a work that is more simply titled Ladenkast (‘chest of drawers’) in Dutch. Its a beautiful work because of the way it presents and organises the chaos of post-consumer waste, an aesthetic that embodies, as Remy has indicated, a Robinson Crusoe-like shipwreck survivor’s do-it-yourself attitude of pragmatic design.
On a trip to Droog’s Amsterdam shop and gallery, I noticed it sold for about €17,000, now even more.
As that clearly indicates, its a product for museums and for the wealthy, not a product for a common person seeking to repurpose discarded drawers found on the street or at the tip. So I decided to democratise the product in the form of a do-it-yourself (DIY) manual that took inspiration from earlier magazines such as the Whole Earth Catalog. It includes an extensive interview with Remy, which is revealing in the sense that his ideological aspirations for his product were not far removed from my concept for this project. This is an aspiration that inflects all his work to this day, and that’s why he is one of my favourite designers.
I never felt comfortable uploading this manual while I was still a student at the Design Academy – Gijs Bakker told me personally that reproductions of Droog products were a real concern – and by the time I had graduated I was busy with other things. But here it is, several years later. If you are interested in Remy’s design, but can’t afford an original, it practically details how you can produce one yourself to a quality commensurate to those made by Remy or Droog. It includes a little meta-analyses around issues of production, reproduction and authenticity. Included is a certificate, with send and return envelopes, that you can send to Remy to approve your DIY version. No promises he will reply, but you never know.
As a student work, please note that there are a few typos and that images are not properly credited. But its pretty clear which images and photos are my own. The rest are the property of their respective rights holders – get in touch for details, or use a web image search.
Kyoko Hashimoto assisted me with the character design for Part 3 (with respect to Dick Bruna).
All images, except the box set photograph below, link to a PDF file of the toolbook including all the section and the appendices.