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Marcel Wanders bemoans the 'stupid dogmas' of modernism
POSTED 23 Sep 2019 . BY Stu Robarts
Wanders argues that "functionality is the lowest standard of design" Credit: Courtesy of Marcel Wanders
To me, functionality is the lowest standard of design. The lowest standard in design. We have made it the ultimate standard. There is nothing other than functionality.
– Marcel Wanders
Marcel Wanders has restated his distaste for modernism, arguing there are elements of the “still prevalent” philosophy that are actively unhelpful.

Speaking at 100% Design in London, Wanders said: "I’m attacking modernism all the time and it looks like people don’t even see that we’re in the midst of it. People think that maybe we’re beyond it, but it’s so still the prevalent philosophy of this little universe. And it wouldn’t be so bad if modernism didn’t have dogmas that are super stupid or really unuseful.

“I mean: ‘form follows function’. Other people say form follows other things but there’s no-one that though that form didn’t follow something. It’s always following something, so why do we talk about form if it only follows function? We don’t have to talk about functionality supposedly giving direction to everything in design.

“Whereas, to me, functionality is the lowest standard of design. The lowest standard in design. We have made it the ultimate standard, but there is nothing other than functionality. If this chair is not able to function, it’s not a chair. It’s wood. Functionality is where we start. We build on functionality.”

In a lively talk, the Dutch designer, who has previously discussed his rejection of modernism and minimalism with CLAD, also spoke about his move into designing interiors and how the discipline differs from product design.

“A product is an idea, but an interior needs a thousand ideas – it’s a very different animal and I think that’s what’s so cool about it. That’s why I’m really happy that I made that choice, because if I’d known I wouldn’t have dared, but when I did it, I found out. And it’s so nice because it’s so different – and I like it because of that.”

Elaborating on how he chooses what work to do in response to a question about what defines his approach, Wanders explained that he tries to avoid pushing things away.

“There are a lot of designers who tell me: ‘No, no. Something like that I would never do. I would never do such a thing.’ Some people are really pushing away things that they would ‘never do’. And I understand where that’s coming from, and it’s not that I don’t like there’s things I won’t do, but in a way I feel the opposite. I’m like, if I can get it, it’s mine right?! I don’t have to be smaller than I am. I don’t have to say no this I won’t do. I wouldn’t do such a thing. If I can get it, I want to define myself large, I don’t want to design myself small. So, within that scope, I can never do what is not me."
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23 Sep 2019

Marcel Wanders bemoans the 'stupid dogmas' of modernism
BY Stu Robarts

Wanders argues that

Wanders argues that "functionality is the lowest standard of design"
photo: Courtesy of Marcel Wanders

Marcel Wanders has restated his distaste for modernism, arguing there are elements of the “still prevalent” philosophy that are actively unhelpful.

Speaking at 100% Design in London, Wanders said: "I’m attacking modernism all the time and it looks like people don’t even see that we’re in the midst of it. People think that maybe we’re beyond it, but it’s so still the prevalent philosophy of this little universe. And it wouldn’t be so bad if modernism didn’t have dogmas that are super stupid or really unuseful.

“I mean: ‘form follows function’. Other people say form follows other things but there’s no-one that though that form didn’t follow something. It’s always following something, so why do we talk about form if it only follows function? We don’t have to talk about functionality supposedly giving direction to everything in design.

“Whereas, to me, functionality is the lowest standard of design. The lowest standard in design. We have made it the ultimate standard, but there is nothing other than functionality. If this chair is not able to function, it’s not a chair. It’s wood. Functionality is where we start. We build on functionality.”

In a lively talk, the Dutch designer, who has previously discussed his rejection of modernism and minimalism with CLAD, also spoke about his move into designing interiors and how the discipline differs from product design.

“A product is an idea, but an interior needs a thousand ideas – it’s a very different animal and I think that’s what’s so cool about it. That’s why I’m really happy that I made that choice, because if I’d known I wouldn’t have dared, but when I did it, I found out. And it’s so nice because it’s so different – and I like it because of that.”

Elaborating on how he chooses what work to do in response to a question about what defines his approach, Wanders explained that he tries to avoid pushing things away.

“There are a lot of designers who tell me: ‘No, no. Something like that I would never do. I would never do such a thing.’ Some people are really pushing away things that they would ‘never do’. And I understand where that’s coming from, and it’s not that I don’t like there’s things I won’t do, but in a way I feel the opposite. I’m like, if I can get it, it’s mine right?! I don’t have to be smaller than I am. I don’t have to say no this I won’t do. I wouldn’t do such a thing. If I can get it, I want to define myself large, I don’t want to design myself small. So, within that scope, I can never do what is not me."



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