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Art Basel Brings a Louis Vuitton and Marcel Wanders Collaboration

In a continued spirit of innovation and collaboration, Louis Vuitton tapped Dutch designer Marcel Wanders for its “Objets Nomades” exhibition. Spotlighting a collection of travel-inspired objects created with ten international designers, the exhibit will offer the world debut of Wanders’ lounge chair at the Maison’s Design District store.

Wanders, who’s best known in South Florida for creating the modern yet fantasy-like interiors of the Mondrian South Beach hotel, brought the iconic Knotted Chair to the delight of design devotees around the world. We struck up a conversation with Wanders about the exhibition, Art Basel, Wynwood and more.

You are in town for the unveiling your lounge chair collaboration with Louis Vuitton. Describe this creation for those not-in-the-know: I must begin by saying we were attracted to the opportunity to collaborate with such a revered brand, as well as, the challenge of creating a luxurious piece that embodies the illusion of travel. As mobility and adventure have been an integral component of the Louis Vuitton brand since its inception, the foundation of our object was exploration.  

By starting with the human form, and the playful way we express ourselves, we were able to design something that adapts to space and allows those who experience it to connect with it in the most meaningful way. An unfolding and portable haven for relaxation, the three individual leather modules fit into each other like a puzzle, yet when individually configured create three distinct solutions — a chaise lounge, a lounge chair and a pouf.    

What is the difference between collaborating with a heritage brand as opposed to a brand which is newer? When you work with an established, iconic brand like Louis Vuitton, there is an inherent respect for their long-time success and dedication to craft, even before the project begins.

Working with a newer brand is different and has its own motivations. With a newer brand you take a little bit more of a leadership role. During the collaboration, you are mentoring, sharing, teaching, yet still collaborating, in an effort to achieve something everyone is proud of. Also, with a newer brand there is a special type of joy you get from watching them grow and establish themselves — it’s a refreshing and invigorating process.  

What did the process entail? Were there parameters with materials and design? Crafted with style and surprise, Louis Vuitton’s supremely luxurious leather objects have stood the test of time, elevating mobility and freedom to an art form.   Our goal was to connect to the ingenuity and history of the Louis Vuitton brand. Therefore, we wanted to make something sensual to the touch, and with the caramel leather color on the outside, and iconic pink, flesh tone of suede inside, this lounge chair instantly resonates with Louis Vuitton’s sensibility to quality, elegance and craftsmanship. The use of belts and straps allowed us to associate with the unique, high-end quality luggage and holistic travel experience that Louis Vuitton is known for. With a gesture to Miami Beach’s historically rebellious colorful architecture, a second long chair is created of turquoise leather called “Ocean Drive Inspiration.” While this is a substantial piece, that maintains considerable size, it is designed in a way that makes it very light, yet durable.  

What do you love most about Art Basel Miami Beach? The personal attention that is offered to the show’s visitors to make sure they are presented with the most important art that the world’s best galleries can offer is unmatched. It’s really about connectivity. By staging art shows for the highest quality modern and contemporary art every year, it has become one of the most anticipated events in the world.    

When in Miami, which neighborhoods do you enjoy exploring? It would be hard for me to say that I have one specific neighborhood of Miami that is my favorite. Design District is a wonderful part of the city to immerse yourself in all the fashion and luxury there. I also enjoy being by the water, along the beach. But really, I like all parts of Miami, as it is such a wonderful city in regard to its ethnicity and openness to diversity. There are such vibrant colors throughout the city. There is dimension here, a tangible texture that you do not experience in many places. Diverse in its colors and cultural architecture, it is an international portal that serves as both the departure and arrival point for vivid imagination and passionate experiences. But possibly Wynwood has stolen my heart most, its vibrant street art pulls me there and has never disappointed  

You are regarded as an anomaly in the design world, what sentiment is behind everything you create? I am here to create an environment of love and to live with passion. My goal is for everything I make to be meaningful, to touch the heart and mind and make our most exciting dreams come true.  

Louis Vuitton will present the “Objets Nomades” collection in its new exhibition space of its Miami Design District store located at 140 NE 39th Street, Miami. It will be open to the public on December 3rd through February 10th. To schedule a private appointment, call (305) 576-1484.