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Marcel Wanders is a person and a designer who knows how 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 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, the 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.
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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.
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 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 an advisory board member for THNK, School of Creative Leadership, and has participated in several THNK Forums discussing the topics like innovations, creativity and education.
Mission and Vision
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 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.
Designs and Realisations
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 Museum and, 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 in Manhattan’s most diverse and creative neighbourhood, 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 altogether 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 of the artistic energy of downtown Manhattan.
Residential interior design
Private Residence in Taipei
Private Residence Taipei combines Marcel’s design signature with local-inspired elements. Each space is lovingly conceived as a jewellery 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 new 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 of 100m2 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.
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.
The Most Iconic Projects
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.
People about Marcel Wanders
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 fiercely 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
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 lunchtime 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.
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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.”
Inspirational Quotes from Marcel Wanders
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
Top Projects Gallery