MARCEL THE WANDERER: Amsterdam is Marcel Wanders’ base, but his architecture, interiors and designs have many ports of call. Inspired by fabled adventurers and fearless inventors like the Montgolfier brothers — Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne, who brought the world the first hot air balloon — he has created the Globe Trotter collection for Roche Bobois.
For Thursday’s launch event at Roche Bobois, in addition to the bulbous Montgolfière sofa, the Japanese-inspired Dojo bookcase and the Parsienne tables with fabric-wrapped legs, accents like an oversize unicycle and a deep sea-diving mask were mixed in to illustrate the expedition element.
While Wanders chatted with creative director Nicolas Roche and Interior Design editor in chief Cindy Allen, guests got glimpses of the ambidextrous designer’s portfolio — suspended celestial–like globes in the Andaz hotel in Amsterdam and a Lego-like residential tower with Yoo among them. Wanders’ team created all the arty images that are featured in the collection, as well as its logo. A semi-pscyedelic video with a hot air balloon, rainbow, turrets and a blasting rocket among others made by Wanders’ team played on a video screen the Madison Avenue store amidst his designs. Variations of those prints were used for three rugs, pillows and the interior of the Wonder Cabinet. Scarves will follow in the next few weeks.
“Usually when I work with a designer on a collection, we have a few different tables and chairs, and that’s cool. They might be beautiful, but here we are in a whole different planet,” Roche said.
Wanders said, “I don’t have this need to be small. The thing about a lot of designers today is they go through life saying, ‘I would never do such a thing.’ It’s a bit of a defensive way to decide who you are. I’m not afraid to do something that is new to me, because I know that I can only do it my way. So I’m not so afraid to change what I did yesterday to do something different tomorrow.”
Sounding a bit Oprah-esque at times, Wanders had several attendees nodding approvingly. He said he remains committed to his studio’s original mission to create an environment of love, to live with passion and to make exciting dreams come true. “Design is not about functionality, it’s about love. If art, poetry, and writing are about love and movies are mostly about love, design is about functionality? No way. It’s about love. It’s about who we are together, what we do for eachother, and what we will do tomorrow.” he said.
Wanders said, “The people who work in my studio are real people. A lot of people want to be seen, they want to be loved, and the shortcut to being loved is to love. That’s what they do. They show their love for the things they care about. They all work together. It’s an orgy of giving in that way so that’s beautiful.”
And the acceleration of technology really hasn’t changed his design process dramatically. “From Day One, I’ve thought technology as part of design. Secretly, I’m an engineer. In my studio, I’m just discussing nuts, bolts, screws and materials all day. When I’m out of there, you will not hear me talking about screws. If I’m talking to engineers, I talk about engineering. If I’m talking to designers, I talk about design,” he said. “It’s very important not to exclude anyone, that you talk their language.”