marcel wanders: dressed for the occasion at alessi
marcel wanders: dressed for the occasion at alessi marcel wanders: dressed for the occasion at alessi
jun 02, 2011

marcel wanders: dressed for the occasion at alessi

video still from ‘dressed for the occasion’, a video installation by marcel wanders for the release of his ‘dressed’ collection for alessi image © marcel wanders




at the public release of his ‘dressed’ tableware collection for alessi during new york design week 2011, dutch designer marcel wanders presented ‘dressed for the occasion’, a special video installation for the event that features him and his friends sharing dinner and conversation together, with a meal prepared by a chef from lute restaurant in the netherlands. wanders also takes a moment to talk with designboom and other journalists about his work and ideas about design.



‘dressed for the occasion’ video, created by marcel wanders for the alessi event during new york design week 2011
video © marcel wanders




asked about whether the form and aesthetics of the pieces or their functional needs were the starting point for his design process, wanders underscores the interconnectedness of the two. ‘function is not the reason we love things,‘ he reflects: ‘function is where we start. [but] decorations play a role in understanding the object‘ and so the engravings and delicate profiles of the ‘dressed’ collection, for example, are designed to suggest the objects’ use in more ceremonial, special occasions.


in fact most of wanders’s design process involves writing and conceptualizing, not sketching. only after developing the ideas and design elements that he wants to include in a piece does he go to his studio to make drawings, seeing the object for the first time.



marcel wanders: dressed for the occasion at alessi  part of the ‘dressed’ collection by marcel wanders for alessi image © marcel wanders



marcel wanders: dressed for the occasion at alessi additional pieces from the ‘dressed collection’ image © marcel wanders



marcel wanders: dressed for the occasion at alessi close view of mug, saucer, and spoon image © marcel wanders


marcel wanders:
as a kid, I loved making gifts: finding the right thing, packaging them… and by doing so I learned that a good gift
has two very important qualities. one is that when you open it, and you see what you got, you think, ‘of course;
I didn’t even know that I needed this, but this is so [perfect for] me; this is something I would love to have.’
the other [thought] that happens at the same time is, ‘oh yes, of course, this is something I can only get from this person.’
so in fact a good gift celebrates the relationship between two people: celebrates the relationship between someone
who gives something and someone who receives something. design for me is the same thing. in all the products
you have both parts, and they work together.



marcel wanders: dressed for the occasion at alessi full view of the silverware pieces image courtesy of alessi



marcel wanders: dressed for the occasion at alessi full view of the silver tray image courtesy of alessi


closing up the conversation, wanders admits that one of his creative dreams is to design a mosque. asked what would be inside, he responds:
there would be people inside! objects have a story; they speak, and I think we all in our own way are sensitive to their words. and that’s a beautiful thing about design: it speaks about the normal things in life. so you find it everywhere; everybody relates to it.
I think design is able to show the identity of people, but also how people can live together, share together; how people can be brought together without problems. it’s able to speak about life in a really simple and nearby way, and therefore to pour a different light on things like different cultures who have blended together.  
I think it is important that design plays that role, that [designers] are able to show our respect for people by what we do.

marcel wanders: dressed for the occasion at alessi marcel wanders at alessi during new york design week 2011 portrait © designboom


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