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October 6th, 2009
Museum Presents Multimedia Exhibition Celebrating Works by Designer Marcel Wanders

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will present a multimedia exhibition of works by Marcel Wanders (b. 1963), whose unique fusion of technology, artistry, and wit have established him as a leading figure in international design. Created specifically for the Museum, the installation will showcase the designer’s favorite projects over the last 20 years, including prototypes, personal editions, and objects never before exhibited.

Trained in The Netherlands as an industrial designer, Wanders’ work ranges from manufactured products and design-art to architecture and interior design. Using shifting video images, light, and sound, Marcel Wanders: Daydreams will dramatize the evolution of Wanders’ design process and philosophy with visual and aural storytelling. Several films will demonstrate how Wanders’ works are interrelated, the result of an exuberantly creative design mind in a multidisciplinary practice. A selection of what Wanders considers his most essential works will be on view, among them: "Knotted Chair," "Bell Big Ben Bianco," "Calvin," "Lucky One," "Extra Big Shadow Floor Lamp," "Moosehead," "Crochet Chair," "New Antiques Chair," and "Blow Lamp."

In recognition of his innovative contributions to contemporary design, Wanders will receive Collab’s Design Excellence Award on November 21 and give an illustrated lecture about his work in the Museum’s Main Building Van Pelt Auditorium. In addition, on the night of the award ceremony and in conjunction with the opening of Marcel Wanders: Daydreams, Wanders will present his “Happy Hour Chandelier” – a performance piece featuring award-winning choreographer and dancer Nanine Linning who descends through the chandelier and pours champagne for assembled guests. The exhibition preview, “Happy Hour” presentation, and buffet supper reception will take place in the skylit galleria of the Museum’s Perelman Building. In addition, Marcel Wanders will give a VIP tour of the exhibition before the Award Ceremony program begins. Shuttle service will be provided between the Main Building and Perelman Building and parking is complimentary on the terrace of the Main Building. Tickets to the VIP Tour, Award Ceremony, “Happy Hour” preview and buffet supper are available by calling the Museum’s Ticket Center at 215-235-7469.

Throughout his career, Wanders has consistently challenged the premises of modernism through avant-garde works like “Knotted Chair” (1996), which marries handcraft and industrial technology; the chair is made from braided, epoxy-soaked aramide rope with a carbon-fiber core and hung in a frame to harden. He also created a series of vessels from sponges dipped in porcelain and then fired, part of the Moooi collection of which Wanders is art-director and co-owner. Among the other international design firms for which Wanders has produced work are B&B Italia, Bisazza, Poliform, Moroso, Flos, Boffi and Cappellini. Wanders was elected Designer of the Year 2005/2006 at the Elle Decoration International Design Awards and named ‘the design world’s favorite star’ by the Washington Post.

In recent years his work has expanded in scope, as he has taken on significant interior projects such as the restaurant ‘Thor’ at the Hotel on Rivington in New York, the Lute Suites, a row of 17th-century Amsterdam houses converted into hotel rooms, and the Mondrian South Beach hotel in Miami. Wanders has said: “I want to make work that looks to the future, but also back to the past. I want to use new techniques, but also reintroduce that lost quality of beauty.” A native of Boxtel, The Netherlands, Wanders was trained at the School of the Arts in Arnhem and elsewhere. In 1995 he opened his own design office in Amsterdam where he continues to practice.

In addition to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Wanders’ work has been exhibited and collected by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Central Museum in Utrecht, and the Museum of Decorative Arts Copenhagen.

This exhibition was made possible by Lisa S. Roberts and David W. Seltzer, and by Target, with additional support provided by Collab—a group that supports the Museum’s modern and contemporary design collection and programs.

An in-kind contribution was provided by Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc.


About Collab
The exhibition is sponsored by Collab, a collaboration of design professionals and enthusiasts supporting the modern and contemporary design collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A volunteer committee founded in 1970, Collab is dedicated to enriching the Museum’s Modern and Contemporary Design collection with outstanding examples of mass-produced and unique designs, and making the collections accessible to the general public, students, and the design community through special exhibitions and programming. Now among the most important in the country, the design collection houses more than 2,000 objects ranging from furniture to ceramics, glass, wallpaper, lighting, and appliances.

Through its sponsorship of the Design Excellence Award, Collab has recognized the significant contributions to design history of individuals such as Ingo Mauer, Gaetano Pesce, Maya Lin, Frank Gehry, Sir Terrance Conran, to name a few. The simultaneous Collab Student Competition highlights the design ingenuity of regional college students as inspired by the current year’s Design Excellence Award recipient.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art and more than 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Its facilities include its landmark Main Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Perelman Building, located nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum on the 2200 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and two 18th-century houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. The Museum offers a wide variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at pressroom@philamuseum.org. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

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