Marcel Wanders Biography
Marcel Wanders (Boxtel, 1963) 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.
Regarded by many as an anomaly in the design world, Marcel has made it his mission 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.
With this track record, it’s no surprise that theNew 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.
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’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.
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.
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 Amsterdamand 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.
Many of Marcel’s designs have been selected for the most important design collections and exhibitions in the world, like the Museums of Modern Art in 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.
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 asEsquire,International Herald Tribune,Washington Post, theFinancial Times,New York Times and Business Week.
Marcel is advisory board member for THNK, School of Creative Leadership, and has participated in several THNK Forums discussing the topics like innovations, creativity and education.