|Marcel Wanders is one of the most creative and prolific designers working today, creating new furniture, products and architectural designs for clients around the world. Picture courtesy of Marcel Wanders.|
Among the world’s top designers who gathered at this year’s Milan Design Week, Dutch superstar Marcel Wanders’ work was the most ubiquitous with new pieces at Moooi, Baccarat, Magis, Barovier&Toso and Very Wood, Jeanne-Marie Cilento writes. Additional reporting by Antonio Visconti
RISING resplendent in a black suit above a small Italian Vespa, Marcel Wanders tall frame could be seen zipping from one event to another during the Salone del Mobile. Wanders needed a quick and easy way to get around town as he had so many shows across the city.
The designer’s signature black and white look was completed by his chunky necklace and new lime-green and orange suede Nike runners. The designer’s work has a unique aesthetic that is full of fantasy and poetry and runs counter to the prevalence of industrial minimalism. It has been a busy 12 months for the Amsterdam-based Wanders. Apart from new designs for a range of companies worldwide, his work is currently being celebrated at a big retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Wanders designs are also held in collections at MoMA in New York, and London’s V&A Museum.
The designer spoke to DAM in the chiaroscuro light of the enormous Moooi Unexpected Welcome show held in a cavernous space in Milan’s Zona Tortona design district. The vast exhibition was dominated by colossal architectural images by Italian photographer Massimo Listri. The new works for Moooi ~ (mooi meaning beautiful in Dutch) ~ were presented in open rooms under the giant images of Italian Baroque interiors.
As art director and co-founder of Moooi, Wanders’ wants the company’s designs to be treasured and to last: future antiques not disposable pieces that are made to be discarded. “In a world which is dominated by the new, we like to see our works in the context of eternity. Massimo Listri is like an ambassador of this eternal heritage,” explains Wanders.
Listri’s extraordinarily rich and still interior images create dramatic backdrops for Moooi’s new designs. The photographer is passionate about atmosphere and perspective and is inspired by painters such as Piero della Francesca and Vermeer. “My photography is an expression of tranquillity in a chaotic world, bringing perspective and equilibrium to the viewer’s soul,” says Listri.
Marcel Wanders most atmospheric installation during Milan Design Week was the Delft Blue Tattooed Hands for the UNTOLD exhibition curated by Rosanna Orlandi and commissioned by the fashion house Vionnet at the historic Bagatti Valsechi Museum. Created from fine ceramic, the elegant white and blue hands were hauntingly accompanied by Wanders’ film Fragile Fingers on a Grand Piano played by renowned Dutch pianist Iris Hond.
Another evocative show created by Wanders was for the Venetian glass design house Barovier & Toso from Murano. The exhibition was located at Fuorisalone in the Brera, held in the spectacular courtyard of the San Sempliciano cathedral. Called Light E-Motion, the artistic installation by Wanders aimed to surprise the viewer and challenge the laws of physics through the movement of glass chandeliers reconfigured to have a human aspect.
Again working in the field of glass, Wanders created ninety-nine limited edition vases for the New Antique Collection for famous French house Baccarat. The two new designs revisit the celebrated Médici vase, combining a rather sumptuous classical form but with a contemporary, geometric look in clear or dark crystal.
Wanders also designed a cartoony, Pop Art piece for Gufram, an Italian furniture design house in Piedmont known for creating sculptural and conceptual art pieces. Called Hortensia, the bright-blue flowered island seat is surreal and designed as a “soft sculpture” in polyurethane foam with a gooey, shiny finish. Gufram describes the piece not as a seat but as a “territory of relaxation for one or more people”.
Marcel Wanders designed three new chairs for Italian design company Magis, including two new versions of Cyborg, the masculine sci-fi Lord Cyborg with a high back the so-called Lady Cyborg which is designed to be lighter and more elegant. The Troy chair is also represented covered in a new range of textiles, metal, leather and wood.
The designer also began a new collaboration with the Very Wood company, creating two new chairs. The linear Century Chair with subtle historical touches and a new innovation where you can change the back of the chair using different material in wood, ceramic or bronze. The other Loop Chair is more dynamic and resembles arches drawn through the air.
New pieces from Moooi’s collection launched this year in Milan include many designs by Wanders plus pieces by Studio Job who have offices in Antwerp and Amsterdam, Hong Kong-based Danny Fang, Swiss studio ZMIK, Indonesian designer Alvin Tjitrowirjo based in Jakarta along with Dutch designers Bertjan Pot, Joost van Bleiswijk & Kiki van Eijk and Scholten & Baijings.
Wanders’ designs include the new Love collection with oversized chairs that are round, soft and embracing ~ and big enough for two people to curl up in together. Covered in a Wanders-designed white, fluffy textile, the large-scale chairs and sofas look very tempting places to sink into. The Nest chair is also plump and inviting with big, colourful cushions that spill over a streamlined, steel frame. The brilliantly-coloured fabrics for the overscale cushions were designed by Wanders to look like a soaring blue sky.
Highlights from other designers for Moooi include the ingenious Prop Light by Bertjan Pot plus the suspended Colour Globe lamps by Scholten & Baijings in their first collaboration with the company. Studio Job created a new printed carpet called L’Afrique full of brilliant colour and cartoon-like figures of jungle and tribal masks. The studio also designed the new Paper Desk made as a solid piece of furniture from layers of white sheets of paper.
The quirky furniture range by Joost van Bleiswijk and Kiki van Eijk is a series of cupboards in solid ash and woven textiles that were inspired by the construction of Tudor houses. Indonesian designer Alvin Tjitrowirjo’s relaxed Taffeta sofa and chair in rattan evoke tropical weather and large verandas
Wanders says he wants Moooi’s range of lighting, furniture and accessories to create inspiring interiors not banal spaces, designs that are full of new ideas that brighten daily life with a touch of magic. “Our interiors are places where visions converge and where everyone can stop and feel comfortable within an eclectic mix of culture and experiences that makes the home more beautiful and unique,’’ he says.
Click on photographs for full-screen slide-show
|Add Called Light E-Motion, the artistic installation by Wanders aimed to surprise the viewer and challenge the laws of physics through the movement of glass chandeliers reconfigured to have a human aspect. Picture courtesy of Marcel Wanders|
|Love Chair designed by Marcel Wanders to be big enough for two people to cuddle up on. It is covered in Wanders' white, fluffy "Plush" textile. Photograph by Ambrogio De Lauro|
|Designed by Marcel Wanders, the Nest Chair has a sleek galvanised steel frame and big, plump cushions. Wanders also designed the fabric called "One Minute" with swathes of blue sky. Photograph by Ambrogio De Lauro|
|New chair and footstool that are part of Marcel Wanders' Zio collection made from solid oak with a natural, light-stained finish. Photograph by Nicole Marnati|
|The Cloud sofa and footstool with round, fluid shapes designed by Marcel Wanders. Photograph by Nicole Marnati|
|The Tudor cupboard by Joost van Bleiswijk & Kiki van Eijk is inspired by the construction of tudor houses and is made of an ash frame and woven textiles of foliage. Photograph by Nicole Marnati|
|The Kroon lamp by ZMIK ~ Matthias Mohr & Rolf Indermühle ~ with a new light in champagne that diffuses a golden glow. The Tapered tables below are by Moooi in solid oak or birch. Photograph by Ambrogio De Lauro|
|Massimo Listri's enormous photographs of interiors behind a dramatic mise-en-scene for Moooi's collection of furniture. Photograph by Ambrogio De Lauro|
|Tudor buffet designed byKiki van Eijk & Joost van Bleiswijk and made from solid ash with woven textile depiciting autumnal foliage motif. Photograph by Ambrogio De Lauro|
|At the left of the picture are the new collection of Prop lights by Bertjan Pot. Photograph by Ambrogio De Lauro|
|The scenic backdrops for the new Moooi collection presented in Milan are all by Italian photographer Massimo Listri. Photograph by Ambrogio De Lauro|
|Zio dining table and chairs designed by Marcel Wanders to be the centre piece and heart of the house around which families gather, entertain and relax. Photograph by Nicole Marnati|
|The quirky, padded Love chair designed by Marcel Wanders for Moooi with the Colour Globe lamps above. Photograph by Nicole Marnati|
|Add The high-back Love chair and sofa designed by Marcel Wanders at the entrance to the 1,700 square metre exhibition space for Moooi's show Via Savona 56 in Milan. Photograph by Nicole Marnati|
|Barovier & Toso's Murano glass chandeliers exhibited in Milan at the San Sempliciano courtyard. Picture courtesy of Marcel Wanders|
|Another scene from the exhibition curated by Marcel Wanders for Barovier & Toso during Milan Design Week. Picture courtesy of Marcel Wanders|
|Marcel Wanders "humanised" Murano glass chandeliers for the Barovier & Toso Lights E-Motion show. Picture courtesy of Marcel Wanders|
|Wanders began a new collaboration with the Very Wood company, creating two new chairs including the linear Century Chair shown above. Picture courtesy of Marcel Wanders|
|Marcel Wanders designed three new chairs for Italian design company Magis, including two new versions of Cyborg, Lord and Lady Cyborg. Picture courtesy of Marcel Wanders|