Marcel Wanders

written by:
photos by:
January 19, 2009
Originally published in Profiles in Creativity

“It’s a mess up here.” Marcel Wanders is talking about his brain, and the necessary disorder of an open mind in design. “Philosophy is not one truth, but thousands of truths. You don’t have to believe in just one thing. When you choose one idea, you close yourself to the rest.”

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  A prototype of a chair from the New Antiques range for Cappellini.
    A prototype of a chair from the New Antiques range for Cappellini.
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  A gold-plated porcelain teddy bear.
    A gold-plated porcelain teddy bear.
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  A gold-plated One Minute sculpture, under an antique glass dome.
    A gold-plated One Minute sculpture, under an antique glass dome.
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  An Airborne Snotty vase, reflecting his determination to make even bodily functions beautiful.
    An Airborne Snotty vase, reflecting his determination to make even bodily functions beautiful.
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  A poseable artist’s model Wanders purchased when he was working on his “breathing” mannequins for the Mandarina Duck flagship store in London.
    A poseable artist’s model Wanders purchased when he was working on his “breathing” mannequins for the Mandarina Duck flagship store in London.
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  An Egg vase.
    An Egg vase.
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  Wanders’s home is a combination of past (the pink wall design was painted for his daughter several years ago) and future (the ceiling and some walls were just removed to take the space into a new direction). The dog photo is by Boudewijn Smit; the black-and-white photo in the center is Sagami Bay by Hiroshi Sugimoto; and the print above the desk is by Ingrid Baars and Nanine Linning. The ornate mosaic coffee table Wanders designed for Bisazza is next to a minimalist sofa by Martin Visser. The red lamp is the smallest of Wanders’s Big Shadow series, designed in 1998 for Cappellini; above the desk is a lamp from Belgium’s Modular, and the office chair is from Vitra. The baroque mirror is a prototype of a design by Wanders.
    Wanders’s home is a combination of past (the pink wall design was painted for his daughter several years ago) and future (the ceiling and some walls were just removed to take the space into a new direction). The dog photo is by Boudewijn Smit; the black-and-white photo in the center is Sagami Bay by Hiroshi Sugimoto; and the print above the desk is by Ingrid Baars and Nanine Linning. The ornate mosaic coffee table Wanders designed for Bisazza is next to a minimalist sofa by Martin Visser. The red lamp is the smallest of Wanders’s Big Shadow series, designed in 1998 for Cappellini; above the desk is a lamp from Belgium’s Modular, and the office chair is from Vitra. The baroque mirror is a prototype of a design by Wanders.
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  A luminous Big Shadow in white casts an ambient glow against a wall coated with blackboard paint and a chocolate brown carpet. The origin of the plaster deer figure has been forgotten. It was acquired as a possible inspiration source and has moved around the designer’s studio and home ever since.
    A luminous Big Shadow in white casts an ambient glow against a wall coated with blackboard paint and a chocolate brown carpet. The origin of the plaster deer figure has been forgotten. It was acquired as a possible inspiration source and has moved around the designer’s studio and home ever since.
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  This Knotted chair (1996) is a 1:6 model version, produced by Vitra, and is only a few inches high. Its larger relatives—produced by Cappellini—have already found their way into a number of museum collections.
    This Knotted chair (1996) is a 1:6 model version, produced by Vitra, and is only a few inches high. Its larger relatives—produced by Cappellini—have already found their way into a number of museum collections.
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  An installation of mismatched handmade shelves makes a display area for another enigmatic assortment of objects, including a Wanders Sponge vase (1997), made by soaking a real sponge in clay, which burns away when the piece is fired. The same technique was used on the silver-plated teddy bear above it. The dolphin and Buddha figures—perhaps a reminder of Wanders’s role in mainstreaming kitsch—illustrate the designer’s interest in ordinary, popular decorative objects.
    An installation of mismatched handmade shelves makes a display area for another enigmatic assortment of objects, including a Wanders Sponge vase (1997), made by soaking a real sponge in clay, which burns away when the piece is fired. The same technique was used on the silver-plated teddy bear above it. The dolphin and Buddha figures—perhaps a reminder of Wanders’s role in mainstreaming kitsch—illustrate the designer’s interest in ordinary, popular decorative objects.
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  This page: Every day, Wanders eats lunch with his team of 12 in the studio, watched by an array of One Minutes that look like a row of angels or winged victories. The red-and-white Op Art–inspired lamp shade was designed for One Minute, which is usually used as a lamp stand.
    This page: Every day, Wanders eats lunch with his team of 12 in the studio, watched by an array of One Minutes that look like a row of angels or winged victories. The red-and-white Op Art–inspired lamp shade was designed for One Minute, which is usually used as a lamp stand.
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