You Can't Lay Down Your Memory thumbnail 1
You Can't Lay Down Your Memory thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Design 1900 to Now, Room 76

You Can't Lay Down Your Memory

Chest of Drawers
1991 (designed), after 1993 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This remarkable reconfiguration of a chest of drawers was one of the most startling and influential furniture designs of the 1990s. Each drawer was salvaged from an existing piece of furniture, most commonly from office systems or cheap domestic furniture. In themselves they are unremarkable, but the drawers have been made precious by re-housing them in specially constructed solid maple housings, often of far greater quality than the drawers themselves. The design encourages us to reconsider questions of value, and to think about the histories of the furniture from which the drawers came, and the lives of the people who used them. This re-connection with history, and the 'make-do-and-mend' aesthetic of the industrial strap binding the drawers together, were typical of Dutch design of the period, and ran counter to the slick modernity and minimalism of much contemporary design. Two years after it was designed the chest of drawers was included in the first collection by Droog Design, the group that did most to popularise Dutch conceptual design ideas outside the Netherlands.


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 43 parts.

  • Strap
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Wine Rack
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
  • Drawer Housing
  • Drawer
Materials and Techniques
Reclaimed drawers, maple, hemp, steel
Brief Description
'You Can't Lay Down Your Memory' chest of drawers, designed by Tejo Remy, 1991, manufactured by Droog Design, after 1993
Physical Description
Twenty found / reclaimed twentieth century, drawers and one wine rack, each in an individually fitted maple housing, the whole group strapped together with a length of industrial hemp strapping.
Dimensions
  • Width: 159cm
  • Height: 141cm
  • Depth: 65cm
Production typeLimited edition
Copy Number
22
Production
Attribution note: Edition of 200
Summary
This remarkable reconfiguration of a chest of drawers was one of the most startling and influential furniture designs of the 1990s. Each drawer was salvaged from an existing piece of furniture, most commonly from office systems or cheap domestic furniture. In themselves they are unremarkable, but the drawers have been made precious by re-housing them in specially constructed solid maple housings, often of far greater quality than the drawers themselves. The design encourages us to reconsider questions of value, and to think about the histories of the furniture from which the drawers came, and the lives of the people who used them. This re-connection with history, and the 'make-do-and-mend' aesthetic of the industrial strap binding the drawers together, were typical of Dutch design of the period, and ran counter to the slick modernity and minimalism of much contemporary design. Two years after it was designed the chest of drawers was included in the first collection by Droog Design, the group that did most to popularise Dutch conceptual design ideas outside the Netherlands.
Bibliographic References
  • Paola Antonelli, 'Objects of Design from the Museum of Modern Art', MoMA, New York, 2003, p.276
  • Gareth Williams, 'The Furniture Machine, furniture since 1990', V&A, 2006, p.32
  • Damon Taylor, 'Laying Down Memories: The Cultural Mobility of Tejo Remy's Chest of Drawers', Journal of Design History, Vol. 29, No. 3 (2015), pp. 245-257
Collection
Accession Number
W.39:1 to 22-2008

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record createdNovember 25, 2008
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