Marcel Wanders: Daydreams

“Here honey, I got you a present.  It’s lightweight, inexpensive and durable!”  In his lecture at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York last week, Marcel Wanders explained that if he were to present his eleven year old daughter with a gift in this way, “she would be in the corner crying.”  Even as adults, these aren’t buzz words that excite.  Sure, these are obviously attributes – but the visionary and revolutionary Dutch designer is adamant about design being more than merely practical.

Crochet Chair. Designed by Marcel Wanders for Moooi.

His work is out of the ordinary, as revealed by his moto: ‘here to create an environment of love, life with passion and make our most exciting dreams come true’.   Marcel’s v.i.p chair, for instance, features fat legs that give the chair a substantial, weighty aesthetic.  In reality, these fat legs hide hard nylon wheels so that the seemingly hefty chair can roll around effortlessly.  Thus, its appearance is somewhat deceptive.  Similarly, Wanders’ crochet pieces defy the capabilities of fabric, forming it into a strong material capable of supporting the weight of human bodies.  The crochet chair and table are both constructed from individual, hand-sewn crochet flowers that are stitched together, formed over a mould and then stiffened with resin.  Both the v.i.p. chair and crochet table are manufactured by Moooi – a Dutch company for which Wanders serves as creative director and co-founder (the Crochet chair was made for Smart Deco).  The name Moooi is derived from their native language (Dutch), meaning beautiful – but with one extra ‘o’ – “because it is extra beautiful.”  Keeping busy, Wanders opened his own design office in Amsterdam in 1995 and has taken on major interior projects in recent years, including the Mondrian South Beach hotel in Miami and the Thor restaurant at the Hotel on Rivington in New York (as well as numerous projects abroad).  From furniture and object design to interiors and architecture, his work is defined by its dream-like qualities.  He creates atmospheres that operate through fantasy – letting practical features take a secondary role to the development of experiential and inspiring spaces. 


Knotted Chair. Designed by Marcel Wanders for Droog.


Crochet Cube. Designed by Marcel Wanders for Smart Deco.


V.I.P. Chair. Designed by Marcel Wanders for Moooi.


V.I.P. Chair. Designed by Marcel Wanders for Moooi.


Crochet Chair and Cube. Designed by Marcel Wanders for Moooi.

Marcel is stateside for the opening of his exhibition for the Philadelphia Museum of Art: a dreamlike, multimedia installation of objects (that he personally selected) to represent pivotal points in his extraordinary career. “Using shifting video images, lighting, and sound to illuminate the development of his boldly inventive body of work, Wanders provides the visitor with a unique visual and sensory experience dramatizing the evolution of his designs over the past twenty years.”  Obviously included in the exhibit is his famous Knotted Chair for Droog, composed of carbon and aramid fibers soaked in epoxy resin and designed in 1996.

Leave a Reply