In 2010, Marcel Wanders opened a London showroom for his furniture brand, Moooi, and filled it with giant prints of Anime cartoon eyes, pudgy quilted chairs, and tray tables shaped like pigs.
The pigs are still there, but everything else at the Moooi exhibition in Milan has been toned down. (That’s a good thing.) In a massive warehouse in Milan, Wanders’ new Zio line is displayed with Moooi’s other new pieces–from other international designers like Bertjan Pot and Studio Jobs, and arranged in around a dozen furniture installations.
The furniture is impeccably arranged and full of both idiosyncratic charm (taxidermy zebras and kayaks hung in mid-air) and seriousness (wooden lounge chairs that channel Wanders’ Dutch design sensibility). No detail is forgotten: Glass chemistry sets are arranged on one desk; a decanter full of Scotch-colored liquid sits on a cabinet. It’s as if the set design from Mad Men crash-landed onto a Wes Anderson film.
“I’m trying to create a sense of bigger scope in time,” Marcel Wanders tells Co.Design. “In the compass of modernism there’s only newness, but I’m trying to create a love and awareness of things, so we invite visitors to look backward and sideways. If we want to have a sustainable world we should not accept the past as irrelevant; we should take it with us.”
This might all be standard fare if not for the photographs. To create a sense of space, Wanders invited the photographer Massimo Listri to display his 12-foot-tall wide format images at Moooi. Each photo documents a grandiose architectural room, such as an empty concert hall or a blue tile foyer, with distant vanishing points.