Dubbed the ‘Lady Gaga of Design’, he has continued to provoke and delight since the 1990s
written on: 16-10-2021 07:00am
Best known for his iconic ‘knotted chair’ in 1996, now on permanent display at the MOMA in New York, Marcel Wanders’ unique and visionary designs are everywhere. From his interior projects to his numerous collaborations with European design manufacturers like B&B Italia, Bisazza, Poliform, Moroso, Flos, Boffi, Cappellini and Droog Design, he is also art director and co-owner of Moooi. Hotel and restaurant design have become increasingly important in his work, with projects including the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht and the Mondrian South Beach hotel in Miami. One of his latest creations is the Circus collection for Alessi, which is an ensemble of tableware and accessories for the iconic brand.
- Why a circus theme for this collection with Alessi? We wanted to combine the functionality of kitchenware with the pageantry of the circus. We wanted to explore how we could use stainless steel in fun, colourful and unexpected ways.
- Where do you begin when designing hotels? When designing interiors, I want most of all to create a sense of place and belonging. From there, I look to connect people and consider the spatial setting, finding ways in which I can surround guests within a sensory experience. Breathing life into a space and artfully crafting it with multi-dimensional surprise is very appealing to me. Before starting, I envision one area and one idea leading to the next and the next, to build upon one another. Instead of making a place in which people stay, I try instead to create a place that stays with people.
- What is your idea of the dream bathroom? In most interiors, bathrooms are usually overlooked spaces. For us, bathrooms have the same level of majesty as all our interior design. In the Kameha Grand Zurich, for example, we accomplished this by making the main highlight an artwork printed onto glass that extends from ceiling to floor. The images are 3D renderings that we generated specifically for this space. They depict underwater scenes; swimming mermaids, chandeliers and bells, treasure chests and patterns used throughout the hotel. We went to great lengths to link them with Zürich’s history, especially in banking and clock making. The other eye-catcher in the bathroom is the crystal chandelier, which hangs directly above the freestanding bathtub, which really elevates the space even more.
- What is your own bathroom like? I have a freestanding clean white soap-shaped bathtub which dominates the master bedroom and melts the linear rigidity of the room. This is juxtaposed against a pitch black baroque washbasin table. I love to pop a champagne bottle in a bubble bath, and step into the sauna, which is a truly pampering experience.
- Which is your favourite room in your house? The bright and spacious living room... I love to gather friends and throw a great dinner party for no reason. I have a very long concrete top table that sits 18 and is framed by a Bisazza mosaic wall by Femke Hiemstra. Authentic meaningful design is only complete when friends gather and discover a true sense of belonging. And it really is true what they say; the company makes the meal.
- Can you give us a tip on how to breathe fresh life into our homes? For fun, our choices need to be personal, random and a bit intuitive. I would look for something handcrafted and collectible, that will bring some fantasy and romance to the home.
Credit: Susan Springate (Words) Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 249, January 2017