Born in Boxtel, Wanders graduated cum laude from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Institute of the Arts Arnhem in 1988 after being expelled from the Design Academy Eindhoven.
In 2000 he opened his studio in Amsterdam, gaining attention in 1996 with his Knotted Chair, which paired high-tech materials with ‘low-tech’ production methods. In 2001, with Casper Vissers, Wanders founded the design company Moooi, of which he is co-owner and art director. In 2014, Wanders worked as a product and interior designer and art director in his Powerhouse studio with around 50 international design specialists. They have realized over 1700+ projects for private clients and premium brands such as Alessi, Louis Vuitton, Bacarrat, Bisazza, Cappellini, KLM, Flos [it], Swarovski, Puma, among others. Julie Scelfo, writing for The New York Times in 2011 described Wanders as "the Lady Gaga of the design world" for being unconventional, creative and full of energy. Many of his designs have humanism and historical influences with innovative materials.
Wanders received various design prizes, including the Rotterdam Design Prize and the Kho Liang Ie Prize. He has lectured at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Limn, the Design Academy, Nike, IDFA, FutureDesignDays and many of the world's most prestigious design academies. In July 2002 Business Week selected Marcel Wanders as one of Europe's '25 leaders of change'. Wanders is an advisory board member of the THNK School of Creative Leadership.
Multi-layered interior projects have become increasingly important in Marcel's work. Notable projects to date include interior architecture for such as the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, Kameha Grand hotel in Bonn, the Mondrian South Beach hotel in Miami, Quasar Istanbul Residences, and the Villa Moda flagship store in Bahrain, as well as private residences in Amsterdam and Mallorca.
In 2015, he was tapped by Revolution Precrafted to design a prefabricated house which he named Eden.
Many of Marcel Wanders' designs have been selected for collections and exhibitions and featured in magazines. In 2006 he was elected International Designer of the Year by Elle Decoration. Marcel Wanders’ first solo exhibition, ‘Daydreams,’ in 2009, featured in the Philadelphia Museum