Azure - - CONTENTS - AS TOLD TO _Tim Mck­eough

Five things we learned from Mar­cel Wan­ders

Ex­u­ber­antly whim­si­cal and deeply po­lar­iz­ing, Dutch de­signer Mar­cel Wan­ders knows no cre­ative bounds. In ad­di­tion to be­ing the co-founder and art di­rec­tor of Moooi, he de­signs for a range of other brands, from Cap­pellini (for which he pro­duced a vase col­lec­tion called Air­borne Snotty, mod­elled on fly­ing mu­cus) to Alessi (maker of a colour­ful ac­ces­sories line in­spired by cir­cuses). His lat­est fur­ni­ture range, re­call­ing ad­ven­tur­ers of decades past, is the Globe Trot­ter col­lec­tion for Roche Bobois. Azure spoke to Wan­ders in New York, where he of­fered his views on what de­sign should of­fer peo­ple – and on the key to do­ing it well. 1 Func­tion­al­ity is over­rated. Func­tion­al­ity is im­por­tant for things you don’t care about – like your vac­uum cleaner. The bet­ter it func­tions, the less you have to deal with it. But the porce­lain cat in your win­dow, the high heels of your girl­friend, your Christ­mas tree? Do you want them out of your life for some­thing more func­tional? No. The things we sur­round our­selves with for cul­ture, for life and for shar­ing fam­ily feel­ings have a dif­fer­ent value. 2 Min­i­mal­ism is so last cen­tury. Less is more: You can do it once, even twice. But if you do “less” an­other 50 times, at some point you get an em­peror with­out clothes. So much stuff was done 50 years ago that has now been re­peated mul­ti­ple times. It’s noth­ing of new value. We’re past that point. 3 Fan­tasy is cru­cial to de­sign. Fan­tasy is such an im­por­tant word for de­sign, but we never hear it. That’s weird, right? Be­cause it should be an im­por­tant word. It says some­thing about the state of de­sign these days – and it’s not a good thing. I think it’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity to bring a bit of fan­tasy to life. 4 The past is still im­por­tant. I try to make new things that peo­ple re­mem­ber – new things that are old ac­quain­tances in some ways. In ev­ery­thing I do, there’s a deeply rooted respect for the past. I use old metaphors, ar­che­typ­i­cal shapes and de­tails that peo­ple rec­og­nize. I make a con­nec­tion first, and then tell you some­thing new. 5 Wel­come crit­i­cism (it means you’re in­no­vat­ing). Dutch ar­chi­tects and de­sign­ers have done amaz­ing things since the 1990s to change how peo­ple look at de­sign. It’s not be­cause we make bet­ter so­fas, but be­cause we ex­per­i­ment. We do crazy shit that never goes any­where. It’s one ex­per­i­ment fol­lowed by an­other – and that’s great. It does ev­ery­thing de­sign should do: It al­ters your brain and your heart, even if it doesn’t lead to a mass-pro­duced prod­uct. If ev­ery­body agrees with what you’re do­ing, you’re not in­no­vat­ing. marcel­wan­,

Mar­cel Wan­ders de­signed the Globe Trot­ter col­lec­tion for Roche Bobois.

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