Marcel Wanders was dubbed by The New York Times as the “Lady Gaga of Design,” and that is indeed true. The Dutch designer is one of the world’s leading product and interior designers, having designed over 2,000 iconic products.
The design world powerhouse was born in the Netherlands and studied at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (ArtEZ Institute of the Arts) in Arnhem. He opened his studio in Amsterdam in 1995; the following year, he became an instant phenomenon when he debuted the iconic Knotted Chair. This signature piece was an immediate hit, partly because of how Wanders (courtesy of Best Interior Designers) “paired high tech materials with ‘low tech’ production methods.”
Last year however, Wanders decided to (courtesy of a Dezeen article by Marcus Fairs) “‘freeze operations'” at the design studio that bears his name and step back from the business for an indefinite period. Wanders plans to focus on a smaller number of projects. Part of this decision may be due to the serious accident he was recently involved in. Still recovering, Wanders believes that time away will “change something in my creative life and process.”
Wanders has been working on project design for 35 years. His Amsterdam-based firm has collaborated with many of the world’s most illustrious brands including Alessi, Baccarat, Christofle, and Louis Vuitton. Wanders’ work evokes excitement and surprise… and it is always entertaining. Courtesy of the designer’s own website, “Regarded by many as an anomaly in the design world, it is Marcel’s mission to create an environment of love, live with passion and make our most exciting dreams come true.”
Wanders will remain involved in moooi, the design brand that he co-founded in 2001 with Casper Vissers. The philosophy behind Moooi is to listen to what the audience wants and fulfills those requests by working with different designers. Ultimately, the brand creates designs that are conversation pieces… ones that make the environment feel alive and unique.
It is only fitting that the name is Moooi… the Dutch word for “beautiful.” Somehow, everything moooi designs is special in its own right. A perfect example of the beauty is the Extinct Animals wallpaper collection, a collaboration between Moooi and Arte. The stunningly visual collection includes depictions of ten extinct creatures. Explaining his inspiration for the collections, Wanders said (courtesy of Lifestyle Asia) “We searched museums around the world and found the most incredible drawings of bygone animals, documented by explorers on their travels. So much of what has lived is lost and can still only live in our memories and imagination. For moooi, the ‘Museum of Extinct Animals’ became an inspiration.”
Just this year, Moooi debuted the Knitty Lounge Chair. Already iconic, this comfortable seat is highly sought-after in many international markets. The knitted fabric is available in fifteen colors. Woven in a chunky basket weave, the yarn provides a tactical sensation that is hard to duplicate.
The Knitty Lounge Chair was a collaboration with Nika Zupanc. The piece is sure to be a conversation starter… which is exactly what the designers were hoping for. The female designer has made it her mission to add emotional aspects to her designs, and to differentiate herself from pieces offered by a marketplace that is still ruled predominately by male designers.
Finally, from the lighting selection, a 2017 collaboration with Rick Tegelaar resulted in the Meshmatics Chandelier. The incredible lighting fixture integrates LED to shine upwards as it illuminates three layers of formed chicken wire. The effect allows the mesh to act as a reflector that spreads light throughout the room while casting (courtesy of Rossana Orlando) “an elaborate web of shadows on the ceiling.”
Tegelaar, an independent designer, was quick to jump at the chance to collaborate with Moooi. As with the Meshmatics Chandelier, Tegelaar is known for using unusual materials in unexpected ways to form creative shapes innovatively. With this collaboration, the effect was no different.