The Philadelphia Museum of Art will present a multimedia exhibition of works by Marcel Wanders, whose unique fusion of technology, artistry, and wit have established him as a leading figure in international design. Created specifically for the Museum, the installation will showcase the designer's favorite projects over the last 20 years, including prototypes, personal editions, and objects never before exhibited.
Trained in The Netherlands as an industrial designer, Wanders' work ranges from manufactured products and design-art to architecture and interior design. Using shifting video images, light, and sound, Marcel Wanders: Daydreams will dramatize the evolution of Wanders' design process and philosophy with visual and aural storytelling. Several films will demonstrate how Wanders' works are interrelated, the result of an exuberantly creative design mind in a multidisciplinary practice. A selection of what Wanders considers his most essential works will be on view, among them: "Knotted Chair," "Bell Big Ben Bianco," "Calvin," "Lucky One," "Extra Big Shadow Floor Lamp," "Moosehead," "Crochet Chair," "New Antiques Chair," and "Blow Lamp."
In recognition of his innovative contributions to contemporary design, Wanders will receive Collab's Design Excellence Award on November 21 and give an illustrated lecture about his work in the Museum's Main Building Van Pelt Auditorium. In addition, on the night of the award ceremony and in conjunction with the opening of Marcel Wanders: Daydreams, Wanders will present his "Happy Hour Chandelier" - a performance piece featuring award-winning choreographer and dancer Nanine Linning who descends through the chandelier and pours champagne for assembled guests. The exhibition preview, "Happy Hour" presentation, and buffet supper reception will take place in the skylit galleria of the Museum's Perelman Building. In addition, Marcel Wanders will give a VIP tour of the exhibition before the Award Ceremony program begins. Shuttle service will be provided between the Main Building and Perelman Building and parking is complimentary on the terrace of the Main Building. Tickets to the VIP Tour, Award Ceremony, "Happy Hour" preview and buffet supper are available by calling the Museum's Ticket Center at 215-235-7469.
Throughout his career, Wanders has consistently challenged the premises of modernism through avant-garde works like "Knotted Chair" (1996), which marries handcraft and industrial technology; the chair is made from braided, epoxy-soaked aramide rope with a carbon-fiber core and hung in a frame to harden. He also created a series of vessels from sponges dipped in porcelain and then fired, part of the Moooi collection of which Wanders is art-director and co-owner. Among the other international design firms for which Wanders has produced work are B&B Italia, Bisazza, Poliform, Moroso, Flos, Boffi and Cappellini. Wanders was elected Designer of the Year 2005/2006 at the Elle Decoration International Design Awards and named 'the design world's favorite star' by the Washington Post.
In recent years his work has expanded in scope, as he has taken on significant interior projects such as the restaurant 'Thor' at the Hotel on Rivington in New York, the Lute Suites, a row of 17th-century Amsterdam houses converted into hotel rooms, and the Mondrian South Beach hotel in Miami. Wanders has said: "I want to make work that looks to the future, but also back to the past. I want to use new techniques, but also reintroduce that lost quality of beauty." A native of Boxtel, The Netherlands, Wanders was trained at the School of the Arts in Arnhem and elsewhere. In 1995 he opened his own design office in Amsterdam where he continues to practice.
Photo: Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders