Designer Profile: Marcel Wanders

I admit it: I love Marcel Wanders. Thankfully, it isn’t the man for whom I pine, but rather his aesthetic. From the moment he pranced into the design scene (and into my heart) with his Knotted Chair in 1996, Wanders has continually celebrated surprise and elevated wonder, turning our lives—and the objects with which we live—into fantastic dreams. 1. Knotted Chair for Droog One of the dandies of Dutch design, Wanders is the visionary behind Moooi, a brand that showcases his talent, and perhaps more importantly, illustrates his curating skills. His products create stories, and thereby turn the act of living into narrative, as with Oblique, a seemingly slight bookshelf that doubles as “the mood board of your lifestyle.” 2. Oblique for Moooi From moody moors to creepy castles, there’s nothing like a good Gothic novel, and Wanders too knows the beauty of decay. He’s envisioned a chandelier that comes pre-haunted, impregnated with decades of abandonment thanks to a thick cocoon of cobwebs. A faceted crystal globe peeks out from beneath, a little wink to forgotten grandeur. 3. Zeppelin 2 for Flos His little objects also create a whimsical narrative. Such is the case with Shitake, which means mushroom, of course. But in Dutch the name also refers to “a bench for elves,” which is why Wanders’ stool features a tangle of texture. If we’re to believe in capricious forest creatures, then surely we can revel in ornamentation. 4. Shitake for Moroso Wanders also checks his sense of play to produce timeless pieces such as the Nut Lounge Chair, a virtually perfect seat that both recognizes classic design and moves it forward. 5. Nut Lounge Chair for Moooi Another Wanders icon is Mad King, a chair that’s not quite as crazy as its name suggests. Its beautiful asymmetry yields to “a fine and useful wooden tray.” I love it in red, since it reminds me of a human heart (the actual organ in all its bloody splendor). 6. Mad King for Poliform Moooi asks, “Want to follow your dream of rocking away in a giant O-shaped seat?” To which my answer is decidedly yes. One of the reasons I love Marcel Wanders is because his designs strip away the quotidian process of habituation. Here is a seat, a rocker, a daybed, and a sculpture all in one—perfect for reawakening your love of the possibilities inherent in a single object. 7. O. for Moooi But when Wanders exercises restraint, the results couldn’t be lovelier. Some of his sofas are unparalleled, with fabrics to fancy and shapes to savor. His 2016 Boutique Botero, for instance, is a little bit Deco and a lot to envy—with five types of feet that take it from metropolitan to sybaritic. 8. Boutique Botero for Moooi Let’s end our tour of Marcel Wanders with one of his carpet designs featuring giant blooming florals. Available in broadloom or as an area rug, Eden Queen gives a nod to Dutch still-life paintings with its play of light and dark. But it’s the scale of the print that revolutionizes the subject matter. The gargantuan tulips and roses awaken our sense of wonder—turning a simple bouquet of flowers into organisms that might devour us. 9. Eden Queen for Moooi Carpets For more information, visit
Posted April 10, 2018 by Alicita Rodriguez

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