Marcel Wanders Puts Creativity to Leather, Launches Boutique of Artful Designs

There’s no slowing down for rock star designer and prolific collaborator Marcel Wanders. After having introduced a Computational Leather Collection with hide specialist Bill Amberg, Wanders has also just launched an online boutique where selected designs are available for purchase.

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Although Wanders has worked with a long list of brands and manufacturers, the Computational Leather Collection was the first project with the Bill Amberg Studio and his artisans. Amberg is known for custom leather products, interiors and furniture. The partnership has so far resulted in two exclusive designs that are based on fractal patterns taken from sacred design. In fact, they fall under Wanders’ SFM series, fully described as “Studies for a Mosque,” which the designer hopes will lead to the design of a full mosque. Fractals, which are commonly found in nature, are complex patterns that are defined as being similar across different scales and are created by repeating a simple pattern “over and over in an ongoing feedback loop.”

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“There’s no more perfect material for displaying endless patterns than leather which endures,” said Wanders, who The New York Times has called the “Lady Gaga of Design” for his unconventional, energy-filled creativity. Wanders leads a team of 40 taking on projects across a wide range of disciplines. He works with dozens of premium brands from Alessi, Baccarat and Christofle, to Flos, KLM, Louis Vuitton and Puma.

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The organic artwork on each hide repeats across different scales, which adds three-dimensionality to the leather. Leather, by nature, is uneven and, the process of design and implementation required the team to trust their experience ion creating these contemporary materials. With a focus on quality and craftsmanship, the two groups developed an entirely new product that can be used in a number of ways for interiors. The hides are one-of-a-kind and sophisticated, yet very tactile and welcoming.

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Not long afterward, Wanders launched an online boutique that offers the latest in design to the public — along with a few classic pieces that are continuously in great demand.

“The reason for creating the Marcel Wanders Boutique was to express true one-of-a-kind designs that reflect our desire to live with passion and make our most exciting dreams come true,” Wanders says. “The boutique is an outlet for sharing our creativity that can now travel from the heart of Amsterdam to the rest of the world.” He adds that the concept for the boutique is “personal editions, publications, rare gifts and the most wonderful secrets. We want to make special things and this intimate assortment of artisanal, alluring, surprising and fantastical items are strictly exclusive to this boutique.”

Here’s a sampling of the home decor items available in the boutique, including some amazing chairs.

Babel Chair

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This version of the Babel Chair, designed in 2010, has black legs, and there’s another option with clear lets. Wanders says this is an  “unconventional take on contemporary furniture design” because it melds old and new concepts and pulls together the lightness that is sought after today with woodturning techniques that are centuries-old. Altogether, this is a versatile and very stylish design for the kitchen, dining room, or living room.

Bon Bon Chair

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Amazing for its technique as well as its appearance, the Bon Bon Chair is made of actual crocheted sections that are given a modern look by being transformed into this seat. The crocheted pieces are first attached to a mold, stitched and then impregnated with epoxy that secures the shape of the chair and this one is finished in gold.

Carbon Balloon Chair

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What started as a “challenge to make the ‘maximum’ with ‘minimum’ resources” resulted in this fabulous Carbon Balloon Chair. It is fashioned by hand from balloons that have been filled with compressed air. The structure is then covered with carbon braids to be coated with epoxy resin.

Carved Chair

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In homage to the craftsmanship and romanticism of eras gone by, Wanders created this carved chair that combines both modern angular styles and more curved, baroque features. The elegant carving coverts the entire chair and gives amazing detail and depth to the piece. The chair is emblematic of the design language he is developing that is contemporary in spirit while also post-modernist.

Fragile Fingers on A Grand Piano

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The talented hands of Iris Hond, the world-famous Dutch pianist, have been immortalized in this series of porcelain sculptures. The exact replicas of the pianist’s hand and arms are embellished with unique patterns in delft blue, transforming them into very special pieces that combine fantasy, poetry and a sense of playfulness. They were created in a process that involved making a 3D scan of Hond’s arms, which was used to prototype and cast the mold. The sculpture comes as a pair or just a right hand.

Knotted Chair

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The iconic piece that launched Wanders into the spotlight, the Knotted Chair melds industrial production and craft in a unique silhouette. Composed of aramid braided cord that has been wrapped around a core made of carbon fiber, then knotted into the macramé form of the chair. The cords are then impregnated with epoxy and then the entire piece is hung to harden, letting gravity do its job in creating the shape of the chair. The innovative chair was quite the sensation when created in 1996 and has since been included in numerous well-known museums across the globe.

Monster Chair

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For a dose of whimsy with a touch of edginess, there’s nothing better than the Monster Chair. First designed for moooi, the Dutch furniture company, the chair is part of a set of seven different designs. The faces of the monsters were inspired by Wanders’ vision of the afterlife, transforming something scary into something lighthearted and creative.

One Minute Delft Blue Large Longneck Vase

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Part of the “One Minute” series, the Delft Blue Large Longneck Vase is a modern take on the classic color and the ancient Chinese Ming porcelain tradition. This type of porcelain was assimilated into Dutch culture during the 17th Century and inspired this new collection of pieces that includes everything from vases to sculptures and tableware.

One Minute Delft Blue Plates

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A seemingly simple swipe of blue is so much more in this plate, created in a minute. “It is human, raw, wonderfully random and is designed with every chance for creative happenstance. In one minute, there is no right and no wrong. There is only a total immersion of myself in the piece. There can never be another one just like it ever in the world,” Wanders said.

One Minute Delft Blue Tulip Vase

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Wanders has applied the one-minute concept to a wide variety of pieces. The nature of the embellishment truly means that no one piece is like another, and on different types of pieces, the painting looks very different. Just compare this to the large longneck vase: Each has a completely different aesthetic.

Large Silver Egg Vase

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The Egg Vase was first produced by Moooi and designed for Droog Design and porcelain manufacturer Rosenthal. The fantastic design is derived from hard-boiled eggs that were stuffed into latex rubber condoms and then cast in various metallics, including black, gold-plated and silver-plated.