Marcel Wanders on Designing a Violin For a Hearing-Challenged Musician

There’s one project at the top of the Dutch designer’s to-do list: creating a violin that will prevent a musician from going deaf.

Marcel Wanders violin
Courtesy Marcel Wanders

I’ve got a good friend who is fantastic and a professional violin player. She plays with the most incredible modern composers. She’s been playing the violin all her life, and now she has to protect her ears. So the specialist has asked her to cut back on playing violin, because her hearing will get worse if she does. It’s such a tough situation—it’s as if someone were to tell me not to look at beautiful things anymore because I’d go blind. It’s so weird. So I’m making her a violin, one that is not muted, not dumbed down, but sounds like it’s whispering. That’s a project that’s high on my priority list.

Marcel Wanders leads an Amsterdam-based product and interior design studio that works with brands like Alessi, Bisazza, Flos, KLM, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Louis Vuitton, and Swarovski. He recently created the Chameleon Collection of architectural materials for Pure + FreeForm. This project is being executed in collaboration with Luthier Bas Maas.

[UPDATE 12/5/2017: This article has been amended to reflect new information provided to Metropolis on the musician’s condition.]

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