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Marcel Wanders celebrates extinct animals in his latest collection for Moooi

What do the dwarf Rhino, armoured boar, blushing sloth, flying coral fish and the dodo bird have in common? Yes, they are all extinct! And the memories of these creatures – washed from the face of the earth – have now been perpetualised in the “Museum of Extinct Animals”, one of three presentations by Dutch furniture company Moooi for the recent Milan Design Week 2018.

10 exotic extinct creatures including the blooming seadragon and calligraphy bird inspire the collection. Moooi’s co-owner and art director, Marcel Wanders reveals: “We searched museums around the world and found the most incredible drawings of bygone animals, documented by explorers on their travels. So much of what has lived is lost and can still only live in our memories and imagination. For Moooi, the “Museum of Extinct Animals” became an inspiration.”

Eccentric and extremely creative Dutch designer Marcel Wanders has been dubbed the Lady Gaga of Design

Based on the drawings, the team has created designs for surfaces, which includes fabrics, leathers, wallcoverings and carpets – depicting both literal and abstract representations of the bygone animals.

Moooi creates the impression of fur, plumage and skin in a series of luxurious wallpapers. Patterns that are based on the colour palette and texture of the animals are illustrated on the wallpapers using selected materials including suede, paper, jute and moiré textiles.

One of the drawings depicting the aristo quagga, a zebra-like mammal with an interesting mix of stripes

For instance, the wallpaper featuring the aristo quagga, a creature that resembles a zebra, the leitmotif is intended to reference the animal’s delicate features and royal appearance of brown gridded texture with soft black markings. The blushing sloth is portrayed with greyish brown swirls to represent its soft fur.

Wallpaper depicting the soft curly fur of the blushing sloth. Credit: Andrew Meredith

Bringing a contemporary twist to the collection, Moooi also put together a series of carpets featuring striking patterns, colours and compositions. Each pattern is inspired by the characteristics of one animal and narrates a story that stimulates the senses through the use of 3D illusions and symphonies of shapes.

One of Moooi’s latest carpets is inspired by the colourful calligraphy bird

For the fabrics, the Dutchman dives into the world of textiles and leathers to discover the natural qualities and feel of diverse materials. Expect plush materials like high pile cotton velvet, treated leather, mohair and fluffy fur; immersing your fingers into the extinct animals’ soft furs, fissured skin and silky plumage.

“We not only embody the extinct animals’ looks and textures but also their tactual feel. Their organic structures, extreme softness and roughness, as well as the geometric patterns are reminders of the wonders of nature,” elaborates Wanders.

tropical print
Wallpaper depicting extinct animals makes a beautiful backdrop in an interior space

Essentially; the complex, almost surrealistic wall prints invite you to lose yourself in the rich, luxuriant forest and let your eyes wander within dreamy, vibrant and striking landscapes.

Wanders concludes: “We want to share our excitement, wonder and love, and try humbly, against our better judgement to hold on to what is lost and celebrate it coming back alive again.”

Marcel Wanders celebrates extinct animals in his latest collection for Moooi

Martin Teo


Martin has a bent for history and food culture, especially of the Peranakan heritage. Since the pandemic, he finds joy in plant parenting and continues to expand his collection of Philodendrons, Anthuriums, and Syngoniums. On his free time, he finds time scouring through the latest cafes in search for the best croissant in the city.


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