5 Main thoughts from Marcel Wanders’ lecture

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Sergey Makhno Architects
December 19, 2018

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Marcel Wanders is a famous product and interior designer from the Netherlands whose studio is credited with 1,900+ iconic projects. 

Marcel Wanders works with premium brands such as Alessi, Baccarat, Bisazza, Christofle, Kosé Corporation, Flos, KLM, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Louis Vuitton, Morgans Hotel Group, Puma, Swarovski. Today, many of Marcel Wanders’ designs are celebrated in some of the most renowned museums in the world, including the Centre Pompidou (FR), MoMA (US), and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (NL).

We were lucky to listen to Wander’ lecture at “Interior goda” in Kyiv. And this is what we learned.

1. People love everything knotted

Wanders figured it out in 1996 when created the “Knotted Chair” that made him famous. 

The “Knotted Chair” (1996) is a combination of hand-crafted tactile design with high-tech industrial processes. The design of the chair begins with an aramid braided cord around a carbon fiber core that is manipulated in the traditional technique of macramé to form the shape of the chair.

Part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the V&A Museum, London and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, among others, the ‘Knotted Chair’ is a modern miracle of transparency, a highlight of the international design world and a sought-after collector’s item.


2. A function is the lowest standard in design

A function will lose its role in making a choice. Form and its esthetics will decide everything.

There are things we don’t love yet we need it to be functional, like a vacuum cleaner. Also, there are things that are absolutely not functional, but we love them without reason, like favorite porcelain dishes.

I believe that it’s enough for function. What we need is more love, fantasy, dreams, memories, and feelings. That’s why everything we create is like a mystery.


3. The design has to amaze.

A conceptual basis of the Marcel Wanders’ works is the principle of transformation. A bud of a tulip appears to be an armchair, and a fancy mushroom is sophisticated lighting.

Be like Lady Gaga — create ideas that cannot be ignored.

4. Respect for the old is the most fundamental design idea

Why do I work with Baccarat and other old brands? One of the reasons is a desire to create something that will serve ages,  something people would like to safe keep, something they would like to give their children by inheritance.

“Last ten years I’ve been working with the idea that old is beautiful” — admits Marcel Wanders.

Today we often ask ourselves, why sit on the ordinary old chair, when we can get a modern one? That is the problem of the furniture made nowadays. You just don’t want it to last. The things we create now would not be relevant in the future. That’s why we create something that will live forever.


5. Inspiration is strange

You cannot just buy a book or magazine to get inspired. Inspiration comes from where you don’t expect it. All you have to do is to ask the right questions. Right questions are grants of the right answers.

I am always inspired because I am not afraid to ask.

Author — Alina Kulyk
Main visual — Nikita Uvarov