Marcel Wanders, London 2006
Marcel Wanders, London 2006. Light-hearted Dutch designer who deftly brings beauty, fantasy and humour to everyday products, from sofas to powder compacts.
Marcel was making his own clothes from the age of 12. Later, he studied at the School of Arts in Arnhem and graduated in 1988. His big break was a "knotted" chair in carbon fibre in 1996 – now made by Cappellini. It looks crocheted but in fact is rigid – "but first I taught myself crochet."
The name of Marcel's brand, Moooi, needs explaining to most Brits. Mooi (say "moy-ee" not "moo-ee") is the Dutch word for beauty – "but when we started 13 years ago we added an extra o for extra beauty, " he told me. "Then Wanders Wonders was obviously the perfect name for my own studio. By the way, zooi means rubbish in Dutch – an ironic opposite that we like."
And so, I asked, what does beauty mean to him? "Everything. It's more important even than function. A good quality product should always work well, so I try to add beauty – with perhaps wit, emotion, poetry, spirit. Indeed, design for me is beauty, creativity and change."
Marcel is contemptuous of minimalism. "Minimalism is lazy design and anyway, it's over. People who paint everything white miss out on joy and beauty. If life were minimal, we would be dead."