Marcel Wanders blasts minimalism and declares designers 'should add fun and value to people’s lives'
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Marcel Wanders blasts minimalism and declares designers 'should add fun and value to people’s lives'

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I want to create things that show my love, my respect, my interest in the world, my understanding of human behaviour

Dutch designer Marcel Wanders has blasted minimalist hospitality design trends in an interview with CLADglobal.

Wanders – best known for his colourful and often surreal hotel collaborations with the likes of Morgans Hotel Group, Park Hyatt and sbe – argued that architects and designers working in the hotel sector “should add fun and value to people’s lives”.

“If you love design enough to give your life to it – studying for years and flying to jobs and events around the world – then why would you try to design as little as possible?” he asked.

“When I think about how and why I want to do my work, I think about this metaphor: my daughter is eight years old, and I have to make her a gift because I love her, so what am I going to do? I can follow the idea of minimalism and get a small box which has crepe paper on it and I tell her ‘Darling, this is for you, it’s very lightweight, it was easy to produce without too much extra cost, and it’s available all over the world, so you got one. Be happy’. If I do that, she’d sit in the corner of the room crying, certain that I don’t love her anymore.

“Instead, I find the most amazing paper that I can – it might have some twinkling bells on it, or it might have a fairy with a machine gun, because she likes to be a bit wicked. I put a bow and some flowers on it and I stand up and do a little performance. I tell her it’s the most amazing gift and I went to great lengths to find it for her because I love her.

“That’s how I design. I want to create things that show my love, my respect, my interest in the world, my understanding of human behaviour. In my studio, we have a saying: ‘We always want to give more than people expect’.”

He added that it is architects who focus on little more than “a façade and a floor plan”, at the expense of interiors, who have allowed boundary-pushing designers to flourish, “because people cannot live in a house which doesn’t have a feeling of warmth and love.”

Wanders’ vibrant philosophy can be seen in projects such as the Mondrian Doha, inspired by the traditional tales of the One Thousand and One Nights, and the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, with oversized bells, passion red Tulip Chairs and walls showing ancient nautical maps all referencing the Dutch Golden Age.

Wanders said: “We embrace chaos, because we love people to stroll around our hotels and think, ‘’Wow, I have to come back here later because I’m going to feel something different’.”

The designer also discussed his past and future projects, the greatest challenges facing the hospitality industry and how he balances life as a designer of products and interiors.

The full interview features in the latest issue of CLADglobal’s quarterly title CLADmag, which you can read online and on digital turning pages.

The magazine also includes interviews with architects Bjarke Ingels, Daniel Libeskind and Christoph Ingenhoven, landscape designer Enzo Enea and designer Joyce Wang.

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Dutch designer Marcel Wanders has blasted minimalist hospitality design trends in an interview with CLADglobal.
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