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Marcel Wanders

“I see design as a way to tell a story. Often my design is the story. It describes the experience I am about to create, as well as the significance that the design may have for someone else.”

Marcel Wanders’ playful demeanor and energy come through in his work, rich in context and backed by a storytelling ability distinguished in his unique emphasis on the design process. Wanders has an impulse to strip design of it’s elitist tendencies, to work with forms that are universally understood that he calls them ‘archetypes’ and to use old things in a novel way, rather than straining for something new.

Wander graduated cum laude from the School of the Arts Arnhem in 1988. He was among the generation of designers and artists that during the 1990s formed the Droog collective of Dutch conceptual designers. Fame came calling when he introduced his iconic Knotted Chair, produced for Droog Design in 1996. His work is now ubiquitous, as he contributes regularly to the leading European contemporary design manufacturers such as B&B Italia, Bisazza, Poliform, Moroso, Flos, Boffi, Cappellini, Droog Design, and Moooi, his own firm.

Founded in 2000, Moooi has grown into an internationally renowned design label. Additionally, Marcel works on architectural and interior design projects and recently turned his hand to consumer home appliances. In 2005, together with Chef Peter Lute, he established the extraordinary Lute Suites hospitality-concept, the first city suites hotel of its kind in the world.

In 2008, Wanders created a vanitas tribute to help raise funds for cancer research in the exhibition and auction, PaperLove. This cut-out of black paper, a delicate, festooned four panel window frames a skull with a gold clown nose, alludes to the end that we all one day must face. The gold nose is often worn by Wanders himself in his work, to highlight the irony of design. The skull in the center therefore could be a representation of Wanders’ skull. Death is my Friend attempts to make what is typically dark and frightening more palpable and understood as a natural a part of life. It was sold at auction to help raise funds for cancer research.

Various designs of his have been selected for important design collections and exhibitions such as the MoMA New York, the Victoria and Albert in London, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Copenhagen, the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, at Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and at the Vitra Design Museum.

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