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Marcel Wanders' new book, 'Interiors,' compiles the high notes from a maestro of design

May 18, 2011 |  6:34 am


Marcel Wanders has serious swagger. The Dutch designer known for his imaginative furniture designs -- a chair made from knotted rope, a chandelier covered in an otherworldly stretchy skin -- is playful enough to wear a gold clown nose and put a rose between his lips in the opening pages of his first book, "Interiors" ($60, Rizzoli).

"I call myself the jester -- the only one in the court who is allowed to make fun of the king because no one questions his loyalty to the king," Wanders said at a book signing Sunday at the Flos showroom during New York Design Week.

Substitute the word "design" for "the king" and you'll begin to understand what makes Wanders so special. As the artistic director and co-founder of Moooi and a gun-for-hire at other firms, Wanders' designs for furniture, lighting and accessories are grand, often absurd, yet usually regarded as beautifully conceived and executed.

Picture 3The new 256-page book documents Wanders' work as an interior designer for clients such as the Mondrian Hotel in Miami, above and right. "Interiors" also shows Wanders' fanciful takes on wallpaper, carpets, mosaic tiles and artwork. 

"In product design I am a sculptor, working in marble," he wrote in one of the few pages with text. (The book also has two essays, by Frame Editor in Chief Robert Thiemann and Fast Company senior writer Linda Tischler.)

"In interiors," Wanders wrote, "I feel like a composer creating an opera." 

As he stood underneath his new Flos lighting collection, Wanders said what makes his interiors stand apart: "We don't shop," he said. "We design and make most everything in the room."

"Interiors" includes the Hotel on Rivington in New York, as well as restaurants in the Netherlands and stores in Britain and Bahrain. They're eye candy that engages the brain, raising provocative questions about what interiors should and could look like. Wanders communicates best through visuals, and the book includes renderings and Wanders' musings on proposed projects, including an apartment building in Guadalajara that looks like a floating cloud. Keep reading to see that and more.


A 2004 rendering shows the unbuilt JVC building in Guadalajara. "I dream of creating an open fortress which makes the inhabitants feel safe and protected and is a welcome, new garden for a city of flowers," Wanders wrote.



A residential project in the Netherlands, Villa Amsterdam, has a neutral palette. The decoration comes in the form of pattern and texture. A square sectional sits against a brocade papered wall on a floor inlaid with an updated version of traditional Dutch floral motifs. The round table is surrounded by chairs with a textured pattern, and even the ceiling has an intricate snowflake design.



A wall covered in a collage of mammoth roses lies within Blits, a Wanders-designed restaurant in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.

-- David A. Keeps reporting from New York

Photo credits: Morgans Hotel Group (Mondrian), Marcel Wanders (JVC, Villa Amsterdam), Inga Powilleit (Blits)


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