“I got mine from my friend Piero Gandini, the man behind Flos,” says Marcel Wanders of acquiring his first drone. “We have the same kind of playful spirit. He flies it to me, then I fly it back.” In the latest installment of On Design, the Dutch designer explores the appeal of his favorite flying object, which he sees as having a similar potential for humanity as the motorcar. Named by Wallpaper* as one of the leading designers of the last 15 years, he first caught international attention with his Knotted Chair, which won the Rotterdam Design Prize and was exhibited at MoMA, New York. A major retrospective of Wanders’ career showcasing over 400 objects is currently running at the Stedilijk Museum in Amsterdam, while his latest project is the Hotel Mira Moon in Hong Kong, which he designed for yoo Studio. Salvaging elements of Chinese myth, the Wan Chao District hideout is a perfect example of Wanders’ nuanced nature. “It’s not like Vegas where things have a theme,” says the maverick designer who was once expelled from the Design Academy in Eindhoven where he was considered “un-teachable.” “We try to find connections to local culture, and try to buy some old, antique objects that are embedded with stories.”
If you could spy on anyone with your drone, who would it be?
Marcel Wanders: That’s an interesting question. My drone is not that great at flying. My girlfriend has been out of the house for 12 days so I’d like to see what she’s doing. She’s in the Caribbean so it might get lost.
What is your biggest design inspiration?
MW: I think true inspiration is inside. It is the certainty that I’m here to do my work. The fact that I know I’m here for a reason, that I will find answers for the questions I have. That’s the stuff that wakes me up in the middle of the night to scribble notes on a piece of paper.
How does it feel too have a major retrospective at the Stedelijk?
MW: It is an extremely important point in my life. The Stedelijk is one of the leading museums in the world for design and to be on that podium is just amazing. I want my work to be viewed, frowned upon—I make it to share.
Marcel Wanders Pinned Up At The Stedelijk continues until 15 June.