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Marcel Wanders is without a doubt admired product designer and one of the top interior designers in the world. Regarded by many as an anomaly in the design world, he has made it his mission to “create an environment of love, live with passion and make our most exciting dreams come true.” His work excites, provokes, and polarises, but never fails to surprise for its ingenuity, daring and singular quest to uplift the human spirit, and entertain.
In his designs Marcel Wanders often mixes innovative materials and techniques with references to well known historical styles and archetypes, so users can easily connect to the pieces, enjoying them for a long time and in doing so create sustainable surroundings.
Marcel Wanders was born in Boxtel, Netherlands in 1963. He graduated cum laude from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (ArtEZ Institute of the Arts) in Arnhem in 1988 after being expelled from Eindhoven Design Academy. In 1995 he opened his studio in the beating heart of the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, quickly coming to worldwide attention in 1996 for his iconic Knotted Chair, which paired high tech materials with ‘low tech’ production methods.
Today Marcel’s powerhouse studio numbers around 50 international design specialists, and he is a prolific product and interior designer and art director, ubiquitous with over 1700+ projects to his name for private clients and premium brands such as Alessi, Bisazza, KLM, Flos, Swarovski, Puma, among scores of others.
In 2001 Marcel Wanders co-founded the successful design label Moooi, of which he is also Art Director. Conceived as a platform for design talent from around the world, today the company works with around 30 designers, has a presence in 79 countries and is renowned for its quirky, eccentric but altogether inspired take on the objects that surround us.
With this track record, it’s no surprise that the New York Times dubbed Marcel the “Lady Gaga of Design,” or that Business Week selected him as one of Europe’s ’25 leaders of change.’ In 2006, Elle Decoration awarded Marcel the prestigious title of ‘Designer of the Year.’ Other award wins include the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s modern design collaborative award, Collab, and the Design Excellence Award for Marcel’s significant contribution to the field of design in 2009.
Interior projects have become increasingly important in Marcel’s work, embraced for their enveloping of people in multi-layered, sensory experiences. Notable projects to date include such iconic interior architectural concepts as the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, Kameha Grand hotel in Bonn, the Mondrian South Beach hotel in Miami, Quasar Istanbul Residences, and the Villa Moda flagship store in Bahrain – to name but a few – as well as private residences in Amsterdam and Mallorca.
In 2012, Marcel Wanders celebrated the launch of his boldest interior project to date, the aforementioned Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht Hotel, operated by the Hyatt Hotels Corporation. House in the city’s former public library, Andaz has been hailed as an experience akin to ‘Alice in Amsterdam,’ a reference to the eponymous Lewis Carroll book, Alice in Wonderland.
Marcel has been featured in numerous major design magazines including Domus, Interni, Blueprint, Design Report, Frame, I.D., Abitare, Wallpaper*, Nylon, Elle Decoration, Icon, and also in leading news and lifestyle titles such as Esquire, International Herald Tribune, Washington Post, the Financial Times, New York Times and Business Week.
Marcel is advisory board member for THNK, School of Creative Leadership, and has participated in several THNK Forums discussing the topics like innovations, creativity and education.
Marcel’s chief concern is bringing the human touch back to design, ushering in what he calls design’s ‘new age;’ in which designer, craftsperson and user are reunited. In his process, Marcel defies design dogma, preferring instead of focus on holistic solutions rather than the technocratic. In Marcel’s universe, the coldness of industrialism is replaced instead by the poetry, fantasy and romance of different ages, vividly brought to life in the contemporary moment.
Marcel Wanders believes that design can outgrow its traditional cultural value and aspire to work on a grander scale, giving more, moving the hearts of its audience in unknown, deeper and more individual directions. He claims that the designers must be better creators, give more, touch others more deeply. Design is a wonderfully direct instrument, as it connects to daily life and It sits, in fact, right at its core.
See also: Top Interior Designers| Kirill Istomin
Marcel Wanders has completed an astonishing number of over 1700 projects for private clients and premium brands such as Alessi, Bisazza, KLM, Flos, Swarovski, Puma, B&B Italia, Baccarat, Kartell, Marks&Spencer, Philips, Vitra and many, many others. His interior designs include private residences, famous hotels and retail spaces.
Many of Marcel’s designs have been selected for the most important design collections and exhibitions in the world, like the Museums of Modern Artin New York and San Francisco, London’s Victoria & Albert, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk, and Rotterdam’s Boijmans van Beuningen. In late 2009, Marcel’s first solo-exhibition, Daydreams, opened in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 2012, Marcel was invited to present a capsule collection at Beijing’s Capital Museumand in 2014, Marcel Wanders: Pinned Up at the Stedelijk – 25 Years of Design– his first major museum retrospective, is set to open at Amsterdam’s premier contemporary art and design institution, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. In addition, Marcel regularly presents at the Salone Del Mobile in Milan.
Hospitality interior design:
The Kameha Grand Zurich
Opening its doors at the beginning of March 2015, the ‘Kameha Grand Zurich’ designed by Marcel Wanders is a hotel that celebrates the rich heritage of Switzerland. Inside unique elements of the local culture warmly welcome international guests. It is a place that could only exist in Zurich, with no other interiors like it.
Mira Moon by Wanders & Yoo
In his collaboration with Yoo, Marcel Wanders’ interior design for this hotel property takes as its starting point the Moon Festival fairy-tale, a legend in Chinese mythology about the Moon Goddess of Immortality. Updating this tale to suit a contemporary setting, the characters from the story are represented throughout the spaces and references to traditional Chinese culture are expressed through modern furnishings with antique Chinese fabrics and prints, peony flower wall details, tailored carpets, digitally composed Bisazza tile graphics and a ‘lucky charm’ feature wall in the lobby.
Hotel on Rivington
Located on Manhattan’s most diverse and creative neighborhood, on the lower east side, the Hotel on Rivington flourishes as a hotspot by capturing perfectly the style and the individuality of that area. The grand entrance, lobby, bar, private bar and full service restaurant of Thor all together offers an impressive experience. The airy dining room features 8 meters soaring glass ceiling with views of the Lower East Side’s historic tenement buildings. The cutting-edge design is floating all over the place as it flaunts a Swarovski-crystal-embedded bar, white pebbled walls and water-tables with high-tech animals, creating the light-effects in the bar. Interiors of the Hotel on Rivington are a celebration to the artistic energy of downtown Manhattan.
Residential interior design
Private Residence in Taipei
Private Residence Taipei combines Marcel Wanders‘s design signature with local-inspired elements. Each space is lovingly conceived as a jewelry box with attention to detail, richly decorative reliefs and bespoke furniture setting the tone. All rooms are individually designed to provide a unique experience.
Casa Son Vida
Roots are attached to tradition but trees are directions to the future. The first full residential project of Marcel Wanders, the 850m2 residence embodies Marcels’ vision in each of its curved corners. The conversion and extension of the Mediterranean sixties villa, gave birth to a friendly meeting between old and new. The subtle mix of classical and modern references is visible through the entire villa, from the classic profiled wall lining the curved space to the newly custom designed cupboards in straight yet classic lines. Located in Mallorca, Casa son Vida was completed in 2009.
Private Residence in Amsterdam
With 102m2 of surface and a garden of100m2 this private strangely symbolizes the typical home space for the Netherlands. With these specifications, the space had to be very rationally organized. But rational doesn’t stop architecture from speaking. The interior abounds with strong details which provide monumentality.
Retail interior design
Cosme Decorte Store
Located in top department stores around Japan, the Cosme Decorte stores are part of Marcel’s production as role as art director for AQMW. The stores opened 2012.
Mandarina Duck is an Italian brand mainly for luggage. With this UK concept store Mandarina Duck wanted to introduce their fashion lines. They called the store the house of the traveller, the house of Gulliver; probably the most legendary British traveller.
The souk is the ultimate marketplace; a concentration of innovation and tradition, diversity and intimacy. It pulses with the richness of overlapping cultures as goods and people come together. Completed in 2008, Villa Moda showcases the rich artisanship of local craftsman, motifs and techniques, re-interpreted with Western eyes.
Mixes the lightness of your favourite cocktail with the weight of Dutch historical heritage – Marcel Wanders’ Cocktail chair for Moooi (2013). Its straightforward design is luxuriously enveloped in a stylish signature woven textile, Heritage for cocktail. With its black and white symbols of Dutch legacy, this woven jewel adds a cultural patchwork of photography and graphics to the chair’s instant flair.
In most households the table is the central piece of the dining room, the heart around which families gather, entertain and relax. Many special memories revolve around its steady presence. With their graceful look and refined details, the Zio tables designed by Marcel Wanders for Moooi bring a touch of style to any moment.
A dancing seductive Cancan lamp which only shows her hidden secrets from a more private position. Giving light to your table, festively made for an intimate gathering of good old friends. Surely an inspiration for all genders at the table. Designed in 2011 for Flos.
A combination of practical, light wooden compartments and of classically sculptured legs, the Bassotti sideboards by Marcel Wanders embody the perfect storage solution for any home or office environment.
A series of 30 differently decorated plates, made using different original plates from the traditional collection of Royal Tichelaar Makkum. All plates are partly printed, partly painted by hand and are used in random combinations on the table. Designed in 2003 for Royal Tichelaar Makkum.
Vases are produced and decorated at ‘royal delft’, a Dutch company dating back to 1653 and the original producer of the beautiful delft blue ceramics. The vases are reinterpreting and revitalizing delft blue and old Dutch craft using new ideas for shapes and decoration. Designed in 2008 for Moooi.
The woman carries in her the most precious secrets and gives birth to the most inestimable treasures in the world, even our future. These boxes which close within each other offer an image of maternity. Designed for Habitat.
Like a genie escaping a magic lamp this powder puff makes all your wishes come true. Hidden under a sparking golden dome the powder genie waits for your call to come out ever so faintly, and transform you in a blink of an eye. Meticulously finished by hand, each jar exudes warmth and tenderness like you’ve never seen before.
Make this the mood board of your lifestyle. Display all your favorite publications, company magazines, booklets, guides or photos in the chicest way possible. Designed in 2002 for Moooi.
Walls and floors
These bold organic, geometric and typographic patterns exhibit stunning, regal qualities with a luxurious finish. Extravagant yet delicate, the ten patterns are grouped into five different categories.
Sparkling chromed brass multi-facetted bathroom fixtures for your bathing space. The Aqua Jewels collection includes several new pieces designed specially for Bonomi including a shower, basin, bidet and lots of accessories.
Invisible Multi media solution out of the Cabinet-Box. Designed in 2007 for HE.
Trinity, the necklace consists of a necklace, bracelet and a ring. Designed in 1998 for chi ha paura…?
For Christmas 2008, Marcel designed a unique collection of gifts for the Dutch department store De Bijenkorf.
During Art Basel Miami Beach, December 2006, Luminaire hosted a major charity benefit for the benefit of cancer research. Lumianaire asked Marcel Wanders and other renowned designers to make a unique version of the Magis Puppy XL for the ‘Puppy Love’ project. The special puppies were auctioned off with all proceeds going to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the Miller school of Medicine at the University of Miami.
Andaz Amsterdam is designed to be a sophisticated hotel that has the relaxed nature of the people and the city in which it lives. Located in the very centre of Amsterdam, between two major canals the Prinsengracht ( Princes canal) and the Keizersgracht (Emperors canal) inspired the logic that the hotel beat with same heart as the city – thus the golden age, delft blue, navigation and adventure and the cities vibrant knowledge economy all inform the look and feel of the hotel.As a space that will accommodate visitors to the city, the hotel is intended to be a vessel that instantly connects people to place, it is designed to offer a local experience for international people, and also be a key venue for those who live in the city and want to showcase their heritage and hospitality.
Mondrian South Beach
The Mondrian South Beach (Morgans Hotel Group) realized at Biscayne Bay in Miami Beach, also known as the Sleeping Beauty’s castle, is a true modern fantasy. Chic and dramatic living spaces are furnished with original bespoke pieces, including iconic items such as the carved chairs, milled tables, vine cabanas and the signature floating staircase. Black and gold patterned furnishings and oversized brass bell shaped lights, the kissing corners in the garden, the private party places and aqua spa bring a magical side to the atmosphere of the hotel. The mirrored mosaic spa-reception desk scatters light across the dimly lit room.
The work of Marcel Wanders is characterized by wit, humour, playfulness and innovation combined with a sense of drama…Wanders seeks to make design joyful and exuberant, but he is also fiercy ambitious and determined that his work should be pleasing and poetic as well as functional and thoughtful. Dominic Bradbury, the Iconic Interior, 2012
Marcel Wanders is like the Lady Gaga of the design world: a constant font of ideas and energy who is nearly impossible to ignore. Julie Scelfo, New York Times, 2011
What do we like most about Wanders? Against all our expectations: this quality of being so deeply rooted in tradition. And his striving, at all costs, to infuse added value into our everyday gestures. Domus 2011
If Philippe Starck is the Groucho Marx of design then Wanders is the Elvis Presley. With a rock star like image, Wanders avoids austere minimalist concepts to create more whimsical and decorative products… …the ubiquitous Dutch designer who has designed everything from furniture to audio equipment, counts among his patrons, pop-star Beyoncé Knowles and hip-hop king Jay-Z, Jonathan Ross and Craig David. Identity (ae), November 2007
Most designers make our lives prettier, but Marcel Wanders seeks to make our lives better. He is an explorer who charts the connections between the domestic landscape and the human heart and his work is the map. His brilliant reinterpretations of the material world will inspire and influence us for a long time. Marcel Wanders loves humanity and he uses design as the vehicle for communicating messages of compassion, celebration and joy We are lucky to be so loved by such a talented designer. Echoes, June 2001, Jim Huff
They’re eye candy that engages the brain, raising provocative questions about what interiors should and could look like. Wanders communicates best through visuals, and the book includes renderings and Wanders’ musings on proposed projects, including an apartment building in Guadalajara that looks like a floating cloud. Los Angeles Times on ‘Marcel Wanders: Interiors’
At the centre of Amsterdam’s famed Jordaan district stands the Westerhuis, a historic building that has become a cultural platform for the creative industry, housing a variety of companies in anywhere from design to public relations. The studio of Marcel Wanders can be found on the 3rd floor of the building, a creative hub where 50 passionate designers collaborate on beautiful and innovative products and interiors.
Separated by a corridor, the studio is divided like a left and right brain, with one side embodying the logical organization and the other creative chaos. In the latter space, there are no walls, the open space abolishing hierarchy and cultivating a collaborative team. Everyone assembles together at the Lunch Room, with lunch time announced by a classic school bell, as well as ringing in anniversaries, goodbye parties, baby showers, and other shared celebrations.
The studio further has its own workshop, allowing for hands-on experimentation and testing of products and new ideas. A new gallery space on the 3rd floor hosts interchanging exhibitions with the Personal Editions collection for a selected audience.
On the 4th floor is the Salon @ Marcel Wanders with three breathtaking spaces: the DIVA Room, the VIP Room, and the One Minute Room. Panoramic views and a sophisticated signature style provide the perfect setting to establish connections, gain insight, and dream together. Along these spaces you will find more Personal Editions: a collection of limited, exclusive pieces exhibiting the combination of traditional crafts and industrial processes and heightening the surrounding poetry and fantasy.
The studio is a hive of activity, filled with products and prototypes, a place that provides inspiration, where people live and breathe the philosophy of Marcel Wanders. By way of its lovingly designed spaces and lively with its beautiful eclectic team of people, it is exactly the right place to “create an environment of love, live with passion, and make our most exciting dreams come true.”
For over ten years Moooi has inspired and seduced the world with sparkling and innovative product designs. Founded in 2001 by Marcel Wanders Marcel acts as both designer and creative director of Moooi, a role that sees him defining all creative aspects of the brand including the advertising for which he works with long time collaborator, photographer Erwin Olaf.
The collections style is exclusive, daring, playful, exquisite and based on the belief that design is a question of love. Moooi takes pride in producing timeless objects of beauty which posses the uniqueness and character of antiques combined with the freshness of modern times. This fusion brings the brand to focus on the production of iconic objects. A mix of lighting, furniture and accessory design which outlast everyday interiors, defining our home’s personalities & delivering an extra touch of creativity and beauty.
As well as Marcel Wanders’ designs, the Moooi portfolio contains a range of work from other nationally and internationally recognised designers. These include, amongst others, Jurgen Bey, Bertjan Pot, Maarten Baas, Neri & Hu, Studio Job and Nika Zupanc. Marcel maintains an influence in all inclusions to the brand, being personally responsible for the overall design selection process.
I would like to make objects that are meaningful for as many possible different people. So if I make an object, I do study the visual quality and the meaning, I do study the rational quality and meaning, I do study the tactile and the emotional quality and meaning of things, to make sure that for everybody there’s something inside that is meaningful and valuable and something they can read as a part of their world and they feel connected to it. And I think with most of my objects, in a sense sometimes I’m looking to find ways [for me] to connect to other areas. Design Boom FPM 2011
Designers and people in general are too attracted by ‘new’, but nothing ages more quickly than ‘newness’. And so I decided long ago that every design of mine would embody my respect for the past. All my objects reflect this kind of marriage between past and present. Domus (IT), January, 2011
My work has sometimes been defined as quirky, but I believe it’s better described as a “fantasy”, because what counts is creating surprise, happiness and innovation. I also have a deep respect for everything that is old. I like working with past and present archetypes from different cultures because they often reveal wonderful values. ELLE Deco (IT), April, 2011
Within the world of design, we of course work on the form of objects, and we work on the function of objects, but I think also what is very important is to work on the surface of objects. I think the surface is so important as it is the place where you connect to an object. Marks & Spencer Interview, 2011
I want to create the kinds of things that if the house burns down you want to run and save. FT How to Spend It, 2010
Our modernist friends from the past decided that there is no history, there is only the future, which I think is really sad, because if you want to be a part of history in the future you cannot cut it away today. And so, for that one reason, I decided that history is very important and I want to make things which are in between my modern time and my past. FT How to Spend It, 2010
That word fantasy, I hardly ever hear it in the world of design. And that’s very strange. You should hear it a lot. I think fantasy is a very important value that designers and artists should bring to the world. New York Times, November 18, 2009
Of course I want to change the world. People who say they can’t under estimate themselves. Elle Décor, April/May, 2007
Let us use the achievements in technology to realize the dreams of humanity. Marcel Wanders, 2006
Style is an invention of the insecure. Marcel Wanders, 2005
People have two forces inside: one brings them towards eternity, in wanting things that last in time, while another brings them towards change: I move within the borders, between what is ancient and what is continuously new. Because this is human and we need novelties to feel alive, while at the same time we are looking for things that are forever. The movement is the same; it is the direction that changes. Marcel Wanders, 2005