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Designer Living: A place to reflect in Amsterdam

The Dutch product and interior designer Marcel Wanders reveals what his unique canal-side home says about him, why he doesn't go shopping very often and how he avoids stress.
The Amsterdam home draws on many cultural influences, and the Dutch designer's respect for history and heritage is apparent throughout.
The Amsterdam home draws on many cultural influences, and the Dutch designer's respect for history and heritage is apparent throughout.

Where do you live?

A spacious ground floor flat in the centre of Amsterdam. I have lived in six different cities but I've finally settled here.

What attracted you to the property?

My flat overlooks the Emperor's Canal, so it's a beautiful location. It's one massive open-plan space - around 3,500 square feet - so everything is connected and it feels very airy.

What does your home say about you?

I suppose it conveys that I'm open-minded and welcoming to other people. My collections show that I like art, and my decor demonstrates that I'm bold when it comes to design. I think my home also shows that I don't spend much time there...

What's the key to creating a happy home?

I work on all sorts of interior projects, and there's a big difference between the way I approach a commercial space to a private, residential space. With a public interior like a hotel, you want something spectacular and impressive but in a home, you want an intimate space that reflects a life and personality.

Will you incorporate your own designs in to your home?

I like to have my own designs around me, but I mix in pieces by other designers, too.

Where do you like to shop for pieces for your home?

I like to visit antique shops and find unusual, original pieces of furniture, or items from other cultures that are fascinating. Generally, I don't shop much at all. In my line of work, I have access to so many talented people and I prefer to fill my home with those pieces that are crafted by myself or by others.

Which items could no home of yours be without?

I'm not so attached to objects that I couldn't live without them. If my house caught fire, I'd probably grab this and that, and run outside. Then, I'd see the whole thing go up in flames and I'd just chuck the objects I'd saved back into the fire, too. I'd rather start all over again than hang on to a few things.

What inspired you to choose the career you did?

When I was a child I always loved to make gifts for people. It was such fun to be creative - to celebrate the relationship between myself and my surroundings. Even as a youngster, I knew this was something important. When I made a gift for somebody, it was something personal from me and that really inspired me. That's one of the reasons I became a designer - to share my ideas with others.

Who do you admire?

There are so many great designers out there and I respect so many of them for different reasons, but one person I really admire is Philippe Starck. He has not only designed beautiful objects - he has also been able to reinvent himself and the world of design as a whole, more than once. That's what makes him really special.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment, I'm busy designing the interior of a major hotel in Qatar. I can't say too much about it but it's a huge project and I'm really looking forward to seeing it open later next year.

How would you describe your style?

I like to mix things together - my work is a real celebration of old and new. My respect for heritage and history comes across in many of my pieces, but I often give the past a new twist and add contemporary elements to keep things fresh. My work's bold and expressive, but also intimate and romantic.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be and why?

I would buy my neighbour's house and move in next door. I'd never leave Amsterdam - I love it so much. It's a beautiful city.

How do you like to relax?

I'm never stressed, therefore, I never officially relax. I just don't accept stress in my life at all. I try to live in a very gentle, fun way. Yes, I work hard, but I enjoy my work, so that's the way I choose to live.


Updated: November 10, 2011 04:00 AM



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