Marcel Wanders (Boxtel, 1963) 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. Regarded by many as an anomaly in the design world, Marcel 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. With this track record, it’s no surprise that theNew York Timesdubbed Marcel the “Lady Gaga of Design,” or thatBusiness Weekselected him as one of Europe’s ’25 leaders of change.’ In 2006,Elle Decorationawarded 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. In his designs Marcel 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’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. In 2001 Marcel 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.
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 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 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. 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 Mobilein Milan. Marcel has been featured in numerous major design magazines includingDomus,Interni,Blueprint, Design Report,Frame,I.D., Abitare,Wallpaper*, Nylon, Elle Decoration, Icon, and also in leading news and lifestyle titles such asEsquire, International Herald Tribune, Washington Post, theFinancial Times, New York TimesandBusiness 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.
Salon Marcel Wanders is located in the beating heart of Amsterdam’s creative Jordaan district, with views overlooking the historic centre of the city. The neighborhood is filled with galleries, design shops, fashion boutiques, restaurants and cafes. Because Salon is located in the city centre of Amsterdam, please note that there is no on site parking. Guests who wish to park can do so in the surrounding streets (which have meter parking) and should also note that parking availability is limited on Monday morning because of the Westerstraat street market.
About your writings and design thinking by Marcel Wanders…
“I remember my first design years in the early 80’s. I was studying design, totally enthusiastic and ready to change the world! Design was a deep and refined cultural medium according to me, able to touch humanity in a subtle and caring way and guide it to new unprecedented heights. I looked for all the little and bigger philosophies and ideas to support my growing knowledge and dreams. Reacting to my endless enthusiasm my teachers and my other design-heroes used to give me their “more realistic” view and told me “Marcel, it’s terrible, the people in the street are ignorant, stupid and traditional. They’re not interested in the great future designs we try to realize. They have no sense of taste and are unwilling to follow us”. I was shocked and couldn’t understand why we, being the hero’s of the future, were so incredibly misunderstood and left alone.”
“The world of design is rapidly changing, from a once-hermetic reality into a more human, accessible and versatile environment. Design is opening up and finding its way to a broader audience, as more and more people become interested in the way design contributes to their lives. Within the world of design, I can sense the will, power and potential to direct our creative talents toward areas and people our dreams have never touched before. We should use this momentum to reach out and broaden the significance of our creative field. For too long now, we have kept the world of design small and secluded, shutting out many new friends in the process.”
“The concept of Industrial design was created at the beginning of last century. Its challenge was to create products which could be produced by machines and create welfare, equality and a political foundation for democracy. Designers and architects created a style, which made acceptable (and even celebrated) the poor possibilities of the available machinery. Although lots of great works were never produced in numbers the new style followed the rules of the machinery for industrial production. Still today design follows the style, which was set in the beginning of times and we do not take on the responsibility to create the most for our public. Design is not as it seems today, just a style! It makes no sense if still we follow the rules of ancient machinery. We can no longer fall in total awe at a tube being bent. Today the industry is able to follow humanity and make its most exciting dreams reality. We as designers have to represent our public and their dreams instead of the machine and the anachronistic political dogmas it represents. We have to challenge the industry so they will learn to follow instead of to lead. It is upon humanity, which the design of the future can only be built. With love, passion and poetry we will take design to new heights. Design is dead…long lives design!”
“I remember my days at school. I remember struggling creating new ideas and understanding the philosophy of my peers. I hoped one day to be a great designer and to be able to support the world with beauty, quality, inspiration and love. Today more and more this dream becomes reality and I want to thank you all for the support you gave to me and my works over the last years. Your support has been a great pleasure and a help to reach out to my audience. Being where I am today I feel the need to reach out to my public in a more personal way, to be able to show the ideas and thoughts behind the work in a deeper and more sensitive way. The diversity and variety of my design mentality is broad and growing and it’s important to present it as one personal body of work.”
Personal Editions by Marcel Wanders…
The relationship between man and machine, industrial techniques and commercial distribution are central themes in design. Breaking away from these shackles and inspired by the wish to have a more direct hand in design, Marcel Wanders decided to create a collection pieces: Marcel Wanders Personal Editions.
These limited, exclusive editions are a step towards humanized design; objects that have a greater (personal) significance. a concern that infiltrates Marcel’s entire oeuvre. The personal editions collection is rooted in Marcels’ desire to push himself by exploring creativity in a more direct, ‘hands on’ way, to incorporate hazard and coincidence into the work, and to test and experiment, as exemplified in the One Minute sculptures. Personal Editions pieces are unique and poetic in their quest to interrogate Marcel’s main practice as a designer.
In addition to designing products and interiors, Marcel Wanders further art directs photoshoots and advertising campaigns for many of his projects and clients.