written by Bruno Couto
He’s been called an enfant terrible and a provocateur. The New York Times pronounced him the “Lady Gaga of the design world.” But the iconoclastic and sometimes controversial Dutch designer Marcel Wanders has always considered himself in much softer terms.“A designer for a new age.” A preacher of a “contemporary renaissance of humanism.”
“A lot of people thought I was nuts,” Wanders says, recalling his decision to quit Rotterdam and the prevailing design philosophy of the 1990’she found it suffocatingly rational, cold, and ahistorical—to pursue a kinder, gentler vision of design in Amsterdam. “I was looking to make work that would connect my daughter to my mother,” the 55-year-old designer and entrepreneur explain of his desire to create a visionary, future-minded portfolio that still respects and references the past.
Looking back on his decades of work, Wanders is pleased with his accomplishments, even though, in the true Dutch style, he’s hesitant to toot his own horn. “Sometimes I allow myself to feel proud that I’ve done so much and been part of many movements,” he says. “I’ve pushed. I’ve pulled. I’ve done a ton of work.” Still, there’s plenty more he’d like to do. “To create an opera, to design a mosque, and to set up a ceramics workshop purely for myself, to make beautiful, little objects.” As if he hasn’t already given the world so many of those.
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