Sebastiaan Duong and Rudy Elerie are the dynamic duo behind Orange Panda, a renowned Amsterdam-based design brand, which works with a diverse client portfolio of hotels, museums, and other attractions worldwide. Their unique approach, combined with their artistic background is a breath of fresh air in an industry dominated by mass production. You can see this fun, fresh and dynamic company in person at showUP in Amsterdam from 4-5 February 2024, Stand G296.
“For us, it’s about maintaining our own artistic integrity in a commercial world,” says Duong at the Orange Panda office in Amsterdam. “Apologies for the chaos, we’ve just received a big order from the Van Gogh Museum!” Large boxes rest beside the office desk where Duong sits. A large, vibrant painting made of different types of moss hangs on the wall, providing a contrast to the pink colours of the 3D cards from the Paris Boys series displayed on the table in front of it. “We want to enrich the world with our innovative 3D lenticular merchandise. Creativity, humour, and positive energy are the leading ingredients for coming up with surprising collections.”
From artistic roots to global success
Their artistic background is evident. Duong, who graduated from the Royal Art Academy in Den Bosch, and Elerie, who was inspired to do street photography through the work of photographer Ed van der Elsken, met each other in the 90s. It was on the Paleisstraat in Amsterdam, where Duong lived after his studies, where he saw Elerie taking photos on the street. “I was so intrigued by him. Such a warm and super social personality. I recognized his spontaneity in his photography; his feeling for timing and beauty. Afterward, I kept running into him at parties and exhibitions of the Rietveld and we became friends.”
Duong, who had already found success with his clothing brand Mingface, inspired by his Chinese-Dutch background, started to receive help from Elerie more and more. He assisted with scouting models, photography, and selling t-shirts on the market. After years of being present at the Noordermarkt in Amsterdam with his brand, Duong decided to follow a new path by starting Orange Panda, focusing on merchandise for tourists visiting the capital. First, with another business partner, he later continued the business with Elerie.
Now, Orange Panda has sales points in the Netherlands, Brussels, Paris, and Milan and is seeking to expand further, especially into the United Kingdom, with its many world class visitor attractions. Orange Panda collections can be seen in the prestigious Van Gogh Museum, I Amsterdam, A’DAM Lookout, and at the exhibitions of the Immersive Hub, whilst quirky retailers such as Magic Mushroom, Elements of Nature, Amsterdam Experience, and The American Book Center also sell their merchandise. In addition to providing their own collections, they also develop custom-made designs for their clients. Orange Panda’s assortment includes postcards, magnets, posters, notebooks, and bookmarks. But what really stands out are their 3D lenticular products.
Nostalgic and creative designs
“Sometimes we start with an existing image, such as the paintings of Van Gogh. We give it our own twist by subtly distorting it, but always with respect for the original work. Or we create something completely new, like our Paris Boys series in which 2 friends visit tourist spots in Paris.”
The design Love You to Death shows that love and death are inextricably linked. In the design Future Wave, we find ourselves in the city of Tokyo with a view of Mount Fuji, and we travel to the future in a DeLorean; the iconic car from the movie Back to the Future.
“These designs stem from a nostalgic longing for the 80s & 90s. The time when we both grew up and went to parties for the first time. It was the beginning of the period of arcades, Game Boys, and 8-bit computers. Creatively, we can do whatever we feel like. This way, we maintain our own identity and our customers know they are getting something unique. We can fully use our passion for art and design here. The entire process, from brainstorming and consultation to production, and finally seeing the product in store, gives a huge kick!” Elerie adds.
By exhibiting at Museum Connections in Paris on January 16 and 17 and showUP, Amsterdam on February 4 and 5, they are eager to present themselves to a new (international) audience. And with a multitude of new ideas in the pipeline, the duo is enthusiastically building their own wondrous 3D universe, connecting art with the world of commercial merchandise.
For more information about Oange Panda contact Sebastiaan or Rudy via the Orange Panda website