Marcel Wanders, the power of quirkiness
"It is our responsibility to be magicians, to be jesters, to be alchemists, to create hope where there is only illusion, to create reality where there are only dreams." Marcel Wanders
His work attracts attention, provokes, entertains. His creations combine innovative materials and techniques with with references to well-known historical styles and archetypes. Born in 1963, Dutch designer Marcel Wanders has only one motto: “create an environment of love, live with passion and make our most exciting dreams come true.”
After being expelled from Eindhoven Design Academy, he graduated cum laude from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (ArtEZ Institute of the Arts) in Arnhem in 1988. Seven years later he opened his studio in Amsterdam and in 2001 he founded Moooi along with Casper Vissers, becoming the brand’s artistic director alongside Desirée de Jong.
The peculiar name comes from the Dutch word for “beautiful” with an additional “o” that stands for the brand’s added value. The brand is currently present in 79 countries and collaborates with more than 30 designers including Jurgen Bey and Bertjan Pot, eclectically producing lighting solutions, furniture items and accessories that share a unique trademark, eccentricity. The brand’s aim is to make people of different ages, cultures and personalities fall in love with their homes. Its recipe is adding a hint of contemporary freshness to classic styles. The result is summed up in its payoff, “The Unexpected Welcome”, a welcoming sense with touch of playfulness and courage.
Think about Love Sofa’s softness and comfort,
or Bell Lamp, the famous bell-shaped lamp with the signature bow, “a glorious collision of classic hand blown glass topped with unashamed kitch.”
As much as original, Container tables can be filled up with sand or treated water to give them stability. Bodhi version adds the purity and warmth of solid oak to an essential and soft design.
Moooi wants to brighten up daily life with a touch of magic. Charles Chair goes straight to this point - with its geometric shapes and primary colors, it seems to have come straight out of one of De Stijl painter Piet Mondrian’s works.
Alongside his projects for Moooi, Wanders spreads his word with a number of other prestigious collaborations. Among the most recent ones, the suspension lamp Perseus, designed for Barovier&Toso and made of hand blown Murano glass, is a real triumph of shades and shapes in Murano hand blown glass, festive as a set of colourful balloons.
Flos Skygarden suspension is characterised by an equally ironic and surprising design - simple on the outside, rich on the inside. The perfect hemisphere conceals a tangle of flowers inspired by a house Marcel Wanders once lived in, which had an old and ornated plaster ceiling.
For Alessi, Wanders signed another perfect combination of sophisticated, classical motifs and a modern, nonconformist touch - Dressed table set. Plates, cutlery, mugs, cups share an elegant decoration that is applied to out of sight areas. Beauty is in details.
Designed for Poliform, Mad Chair stands out for its unconventional and “pop” design, free from any material boundaries - a nod to the 50s style found in the TV series Mad Men.
Selected as one of Europe’s “25 leaders of change” by Business Week and awarded the prestigious title of Designer of the Year by Elle Decoration in 2006, Wanders defies dogma and the coldness of industrial production to add some human touch to design. His interior projects are veritable sensory experiences - that of Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht Hotel, inaugurated in 2012, has been described as an experience akin to ‘Alice in Amsterdam,’ a reference to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
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