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caught up with Marcel Wanders recently.

He was in Budapest but he had to think about it for a moment to remember where he was, because Wanders, though based in Amsterdam, travels constantly.

He is acknowledged as one of the top interior designers in the world, and along with his own collection, Mooie, he has collaborated on product design with the best names in the business.

 His new collection for Roche Bobois is inspired by antique hot-air balloons worthy of Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg.

Peggy Levinson: How did you choose this collaboration with Roche Bobois?

Marcel Wanders: Roche Bobois gave us the opportunity to do something different, and our feel

and our philosophies are perfectly aligned. Some modern design collections look all the same, that to me is about styling, not design.

This kind of styling is less inclined to look at the lightness of life, which is what I do.

PL: What does Montgolfière mean to you? I know the Montgolfier brothers invented the first hot-air balloon in 1783; are they the inspiration for the whole collection?

MW: For me, the iconic image of the Montgolfière balloon is a metaphor for traveling. In this special project, we wanted to create a world.

We started with one idea, which led to many more ideas, because the world is many ideas.

We started with a graphic of all our ideas—a flower, a picture, a shoji screen.

The Montgolfière sofa with its balloon-like arms anchored to little feet is like an irrational start leading to a very logical object—a sofa in this case.

PL: How did you come up with the exhilarating design for the interior of the cabinet? MW: It comes from the graphic, which began and inspired the collection.

I travel a lot so I want to live lightly—I like cabinets empty. This cabinet is empty and also filled with miracles.

PL: You’ve designed some extravagant interiors—who are your clients? MW: I’ve designed hotels and then been asked to design the owner’s home. T

hese are people who are interested in the world, a little quirky, and have a great appetite for excitement.

PL: Will you continue to design products for the Globe Trotter collection, finding inspiration from other countries as you have Paris, China, and Japan? MW: Of course.

We hope to have new novelties in the collection for a launch in Los Angeles in September.

PL: You describe your collection as “post-postmodern contemporary Renaissance of humanity.”

How are you bringing back humanity with this collection? What does this mean?

MW: Modernism suggests we can find answers with the brain. Being human is not only rational—computers and robots are rational,

and they act quicker. Humans have humor, curiosity, and a connection to the past.

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