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Marcel Wanders - Humorous, But Never a Joke

Marcel Wanders made his first knot on the world with his “knotted chair” in 1996 and has been taking the designing world by storm ever since.

Wanders was born in Boxtel, Netherlands, on February 7, 1963. He remained there until he graduated cum laude from the School of Arts in Arnhem. He worked independently creating his own designs until he produced the knotted chair for Droog Design in 1996.

As a result of this creation, Marcel Wanders became one of the most well known designers in the world. His designs are the cutting edge of European artistry, and often the inspiration for products from Bisazza, Moroso, Flos, B&B Italia and, of course, Droog Designs.

Marcel Wanders is also the co-owner and art designer for Moooi, which he co-founded in 2000. Moooi is an internationally respected design firm and Marcel Wanders is one of its leading commodities.
As he has come into his own internationally, Marcel Wanders has won virtually every major design competition around the world and was named Designer of the Year 2005-2006 by Elle Decoration. That same year he served as editor of the International Design Yearbook.

Like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dam, once Marcel Wanders unleashed his talent, the accolades have come flooding in.
In December, 2007, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in Holland and just a month earlier he was named one of the 50 design icons of the world. What is most fun about Marcel Wanders designs is the playful nature he brings to contemporary design, promoting designs that are both fun and functional.

While he served as editor of the International Design Yearbook, Wanders worked with Chef Peter Lute to create Lute Suites. The concept behind the first-class suites are to give the resident a panoramic view of the city and has been adopted worldwide.

He has designed restaurants around the world, but still completes individual design projects for private residences. He has been named one of the “Visionaries!” of 2007 by the New York Museum of Art and design and has been featured in exhibitions from The Hague to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
One of Marcel Wanders earliest installment projects was “And on the eighth day men began to lie” in October 1991. From candle-inspired lamps, which will turn off with a little blow, to his carpet sofa, Marcel Wanders finds a sort of whimsy in modern design, making it fun to love your furnishings.
In April, 2006, the artist himself told people what to think of his work. “I see design as a way to tell a story. Often my design is the story. It describes the experience I’m about to create, as well as the significance that the design may have for someone else.”

While other people praise the artistry of his work, Marcel himself prefers to think of life as the ultimate work of art. “If I have any basic motivation, it’s to inspire people to make their life a masterpiece. So my biggest work is my life – and I take it seriously. But not too seriously,” he reportedly said in 2006.
Ultimately, Marcel Wanders has expressed the belief that too often design remains unnoticed if it is good. “So many people will notice design, only when it fails. It is my task to make them love it when it works” he said.
The objective is to take the modern world and enjoy it, to make technology work for us as a segment of design, he explained. Writing for “Sleeper” in the United Kingdom, Jennifer Hudson claimed the whimsy that is seen at first glance in some of Marcel Wanders’ pieces is a cover for what lies beneath.

Hudson wrote, “His designs might, at first glance appear playful. But each is a result of intelligence and advanced technological research into production methods and materials. He works not only to produce an object, which is aesthetically pleasing, but also to create something which will make the world a better place. He is critical of design which constantly tries to re-invent the chair. Although his products stretch archetypes and are challenging and surprising, they value the lessons he has learned from the past. They never slip into parody and as such do not alienate. They are very collectable. He is often quoted as saying that his work is always humorous but never a joke.”