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Marcel Wanders: Pinned Up at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

From February 1, 2014, the Stedelijk Museum proudly presents the exhibition Marcel Wanders: Pinned Up at the Stedelijk. Marcel Wanders (Boxtel, 1963) is recognized as one of the most distinguished designers working today.

He is internationally renowned for his product, furniture and interior designs, and original art direction. The largest presentation of his work to-date, this is the first European survey exhibition of Wanders since 1999. It is also the first major design exhibition to be presented at the Stedelijk following its reopening in 2012.

The exhibition presents designs from Wanders’ entire oeuvre, ranging from the late 1980s to the present. More than 400 objects will be on display in the monumental lower-level gallery space in the Stedelijk’s new wing, and will encompass furniture, lamps, utensils, cutlery, wallpaper, packaging, and jewelry. The show also includes images of interiors, design sketches, prototypes, experimental work in small editions, sculptural objects developed for special projects, and “virtual interiors”: new experimental digital creations.

Marcel Wanders: Pinned Up at the Stedelijk is conceived in three parts: a white zone, which offers an analysis of Wanders’ work based on 10 themes (such as craftsmanship, narratives and dialogues, surface, innovation, archetypes, variation, and playing with scale); a black zone presenting work of a more personal and often experimental nature in a theatrical setting; and a lounge where Wanders’ role as Art Director for design brands, including Moooi, is explored.

All of Wander’s iconic works are featured, such as the Set Up Shades lamp (1989), the Knotted Chair (1995-1996), Lace Table (1997), Egg Vase (1997), Airborne Snotty Vases (2001), the New Antiques furniture (2005), and the Skygarden lamp (2007). Also on view are lesser-known pieces such as the Hare Vase (1995) and packaging designs for the Japanese cosmetics brand Cosme Decorte (since 2010). Wanders’ most recent furniture design, the Carbon Balloon Chair (2013), will also make its European debut. Many other designs, some of which were created especially for this exhibition, are on view for the first time, such as a special edition of the famed Egg Vase.

The title of the exhibition, Marcel Wanders: Pinned Up at the Stedelijk, refers to the way in which the designer and his work are, as it were, “pinned up” and analyzed in a museum context. Ingeborg de Roode, Curator of Industrial Design and organizer of the exhibition, remarks about the designer: “Marcel Wanders is a creative and innovative force as a designer, driven by a clear and distinctive vision from the very start of his career: to create an extraordinary and sustainable environment through design. Sustainability comes from users building relationships with his products, cherishing them rather than discarding them. A remarkable communicator, he shares his vision not only through his designs, but also by utilizing the media as a vehicle itself, such as in his publicity shots, which Wanders art directs. Wanders’ skills as a communicator, coupled with his business insights (he runs a studio with a staff of 50 and is co-owner of Moooi and the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht Hotel) contribute greatly to his success. Few designers can boast such a combination of talents. Now, at the zenith of his 25-year career, it is a perfect time for a museum analysis of his influential professional practice.”

Marcel Wanders graduated in 1988 from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (now ArtEZ) in Arnhem, the Netherlands. In 1996, he made his international breakthrough with the Knotted Chair, a miracle of transparency in which a high tech material is combined with a low-tech macramé technique. At first, Wanders was primarily associated with the avant-garde, conceptual direction of Dutch Design, which created an international furor largely through the activities of the Droog Design platform. However, Wanders soon found his way into the wider design industry, with particular success abroad. Since then, his designs have been sold worldwide.

Marcel Wanders designs for internationally renowned brands such as Alessi, Moroso, Kartell, Flos, Cosme Decorte, Target, Puma, Baccarat, Marks & Spencer, and KLM, among scores of others. In addition to this industrial work, Wanders also creates and produces more experimental designs, under his ‘Personal Editions’ label.

Since 1999, Wanders has also worked on interior projects such as the VIP room of the Dutch pavilion at the World Fair in Hannover (2000), the Mondrian Hotel in Miami (2008), Villa Moda in Bahrain (2008), and the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht Hotel (2012).

Wanders is also an art director and, since 2001, has worked in that capacity for Moooi, the successful interior label of which he is co-founder. Wanders works with famous designers such as Jasper Morrison and Jurgen Bey and from the beginning provided a platform for younger designers including Bertjan Pot, Maarten Baas, Kiki van Eijk, Jaime Hayon, Front, Nika Zupanc, and Osko & Deichmann, many of whom launched products for the first time through the brand. Wanders also serves as Art Director for Moooi’s remarkable publicity shots, often collaborating with Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf. And Wanders creates the narrative images that support his product designs for Alessi, Target, KLM, and others.


The exhibition is accompanied by a 224-page catalogue published by the Stedelijk Museum, with analytical essays by international authors, an interview with the designer, a visual survey of Wanders’ most important projects, a biography, bibliography, and an overview of his entire oeuvre.


A dynamic Public Program will be presented with the exhibition. Programs for schools, children, and families are being developed.

At this moment, the Blikopeners, the young peer educators of the Stedelijk Museum, have their own television program on the Dutch channel AVRO. During the episode What the Art! on Saturday, September 21 (at 5 pm, Nederland 2), Blikopeners Bilal and Helinda will interview Marcel Wanders in his studio.