Marcel Wanders and his new Dalia armchair for Cappellini. Portrait by Erwin Olaf.
This is the fourth installment of our Core77 Questionnaire. We'll be posting a new interview every other Tuesday.
Name: Marcel Wanders
Occupation: Designer of the new age
Location: I am working and living in Amsterdam.
Current projects: We always work on about 50 projects, so it's difficult to say which I'm working on. I'm working on a large study for a musician. I'm working on products for Moooi. I'm working on lighting pieces for Flos. And so on and so on.
Mission: I'm here to create an environment of love, live with passion, and make my most exciting dreams come true.
Wanders's new Cloud sofa for Moooi, where he is the art director
When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer? I was about 17. Someone told me there's something like design. I had no idea. But then when I got to understand what it was about, I felt that it was so incredible and so wonderful and such important work. And I really gave my life to that.
Education: First I went to the Design Academy Eindhoven. And after nine months they kicked me out of school. So I went to another school which was way more craft oriented. Then, simultaneously, I started to study at a school which was really industrial oriented. And then, when I stopped with both of these schools, I finished my schooling in Arnhem at the Institute of the Arts.
First design job: While I was studying, I did quite a few projects already. But my first real job after I finished school was a project I did for the Dutch post office. I made a series of desk lamps.
Who is your design hero? I think there are quite a lot of heroes in my life, because there are so many people I learned different things from. There's not one who stands out. But you do see people who are above the rest, because they are able to really change the field, to change how all of us think about design. Philippe Stark is one of them, Gehry is one of them, Koolhaas is one of them. Certainly there are a great deal of others.
Above and below: Wanders's studio in Amsterdam
Describe your workspace: I have an old school building—it used to be a craft oriented school—and I have the two top floors. And I have one big open space where all of my people are sitting. Adjacent to it, we have a photo studio and a kitchen and a meeting space and so on. It's the coolest—a large area, light, just a wonderful space.
Other than the computer, what is your most important tool? I think the only tool we have is our own great minds. This is our tool and our material, this is what we work on. Of course I draw, but I draw mainly in my head. I used to draw a lot, but now if I draw, it's only because I want to explain something to someone. I sit at a table with one of the people in my studio, and I start drawing for them what I've been thinking. For myself I don't draw anymore; I draw for other people.
What is the best part of your job? To work with a group of 50 incredible, passionate, wonderful creative people.
What is the worst part of your job? To work with a group of 50 tough-minded creative people. Someone always knows better. So it's great to work with them, but it's also challenging.
Above and below: Wanders designed the interiors of the Andaz Amsterdam
What time do you get up and go to bed? I wake up about 6:00. I go to bed about 12:30, 1:00.
How do you procrastinate? I like not to procrastinate. For me, procrastinating equals suffering. It equal laziness, and it's one of the really horrible, horrible things which I always try to immediately avoid.
Favorite productivity tip or trick: Don't doubt. Choose. And then after having chosen, really take care of whether you made the right choice. But make a choice. Don't wait.
What is the most important quality in a designer? To be extremely straightforward and honest to yourself, which is extremely difficult.
What is the most widespread misunderstanding about design or designers? I think a lot of designers are really old-fashioned, and they really are not thinking forward. They don't think about what our culture needs. But we think they do.
Wanders's fourth collection for the British retailer Marks & Spencer includes graphic silk scarves and the Introducing Marcel cufflinks
Most prized design possession: I have the Chest of Drawers of Tejo Remy. I'm really happy with it.
What is exciting you in design right now? I'm waiting for a new generation of designers who will come up with a really different way to look at the world. I know it's going to happen. I'm walking with my eyes bigger than ever, because I'm sure it's going to happen now. It is happening, probably. Things cannot go on the way they are.
If you could redesign anything, what would you choose? I would redesign the Euro bills. Because they could have been such a wonderful thing. They could have been the pride of Europe, and in fact they did nothing; nobody was excited about them. So it's a pity.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years? I hope to be a leader of change. I hope to be able to commit to a few companies in the world and to really create lasting change when it comes to durability and respect for our environment and our universe.
Lastly, who's more fun to have a drink with: architects, industrial designers or graphic designers? Oh, I don't know. I think you just put them together and have a ball. There's no reason to exclude anyone from a good party.