Knotted Chair


The proliferation of computer renderings and prototypes on sites like Dezeen is making real products « look extremely boring, » according to Dutch designer Marcel Wanders.

Furniture brands are struggling to make their products appear interesting in comparison to online fantasies, said Wanders in an exclusive interview with Dezeen.

« You are so able to present every crazy idea as if it is reality, the whole universe of communication is so strong, » said Wanders. « But now it’s difficult for a company to be anywhere interesting in a world that is so dominated by prototypes and great and bright ideas. »

« The Dezeens of this world are extremely inspirational, but have no realistic dimension any more, » he added.

Wanders was speaking to Dezeen in Milan at the launch of the latest collection by Moooi, the furniture and lighting brand he co-founded in 2001 with Casper Vissers.

Moooi has grown rapidly by recruiting a roster of international designers to create unusual products that sit alongside new work by Wanders, who was one of a generation of Dutch creatives nurtured by conceptual design company Droog.

« It’s funny that in the 1990s Droog was doing all this wonderful work, » Wanders said. « It was interesting that we kind of invented something which I call today ‘virtual design’. We started making prototypes as if they were real, we communicated them in Milano as if you could buy them. That was at the same time a kind of communication being invented as a mass medium. »

Today, designers are able to get international attention for products that are not ready for market and in many cases don’t even exist as prototypes, Wanders said.

« Now I think it is so big, this virtual design, the prototypes are so important in the world of design and the alternative ideas are so important, » he said.

« Now you go on Dezeen and you go through the pages and you find a company like Cassina and oh my God, I mean it’s not even their fault, how could they be interesting between all these bright and virtual ideas which nobody is ever going to do? How could a chair or a lamp be interesting? »

« All that is realistic starts to look extremely boring in the world of all this inspirational stuff. It’s a really interesting problem that we’re going to face. It’s a bit difficult to be in such an exciting world because they to start to feel really boring. »

Date of publication: 9 April 2014