Marc Newson by Nia Beazer

Marc Newson Product + Furniture Designer (1963-)

Marc Newson, one of the most accomplished and influential designers of his generation, was born in Sydney, Australia in 1963. Having spent his childhood travelling in Europe and Asia, he studied jewellery and sculpture at Sydney College of the Arts. The career of Marc Newson has been remarkably successful. He has had studios based in in Sydney, Tokyo, Paris and, more recently, London, designing over 200 objects from furniture and interiors to watches and homewares; from a bicycle to a car and even a private jet. Marc Newson is known for his experimental and innovative approach to design, and today he is known as one of the world’s most progressive, versatile and high-profile designers.

Lockheed Lounge, 1986
Embryo Chair - The first Newson chair to go into production, through the Japanese company Idee in 1988

Through his furniture, particularly the Lockhead Lounge of 1986, Newson began to build a name for himself. This accelerated when he moved to Tokyo, where he was working, developing prototype furniture and designing resturaunt interiors, for Japanese design entrepreneur Teruo Kurosaki. In the mid-1990s, Newson began experimenting with CAD software, which brought his career to a new level. He then began to take on commercial projects, like designing mass-produced products for Alessi and Magis. These projects made him a superstar in the design world, leading to work on cars with Ford and airplane interiors for Quantas. Meanwhile, he also juggled jobs for Nike and The Gap. In 1997 Newson moved to London, where he and partner Benjamin De Haan set up Marc Newson ltd. As a larger studio they were capable of tackling more ambitious industrial projects.

021C concept car, 1999-2000

Marc Newson incorporates the use of organic shapes into his various designs. His typical style calls for smooth flowing lines, translucency and transparency, tending to have an absence of sharp edges. Some of his furniture is positively squat. He smothered his designs in color back when most designers avoided anything that was not white or stainless steel, which isolated his designs further for attention. His design process is heavily influenced by both the type of environment he is in and the kind of product the company wants of him. When working on a new project for either private or corporate clients, Newson has a fixed design team which he works with. This team consist of; Marc himself as the head designer; two or three design assistants; an architect and, on occasion, some freelancers will be hired to consult on the project. Also in the studio are several administrative staff, a PR person, and many interns. Although Newson has a fairly large team working under him, in general he works the best when he is on his own, isolated in a perfectly silent design environment and, most importantly, with no form of stressful situations in the proximity. When being interviewed by Hazal Gumus and Koray Ozsoy of Designophy, in November 2009, Marc stated: “I don’t design in my office ever. I answer the telephone, I read emails. I work. I develop designs, I engineer designs on a computer, but that’s not where the ideas are born.”[1]

Falcon 900B long range jet, 1999
Sports footwear for Nike 2004

For Marc Newson, as a designer, it is vitally important that he create objects that people can form a bond with. Objects that we love to have around and yet could not really explain why; objects that we would keep and guard for the rest of our lives. He maintained the following during an interview in 2009: “I like the idea of high quality products that you never want to replace or need to replace. Objects that will be repaired and continue to work and be current and classic. An object like that is a successful design.”[2] The work of Marc Newson has fetched amongst some of the highest prices in auctions, his work has also infiltrated the ‘ultra-hip’ world of pop culture, appearing in Madonna’s videos, the “Austin Powers” film and many other movie sets. Many of Newson’s unique creations are now held in well known Museums such as; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Vitra Design Museum in Weilam Rhein, the Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, the Design Museum, London, and the Powerhouse, Sydney.


[1] Designophy.com “Marc Newson (Designophy – Interview, http://www.designophy.com)”; available from http://www.designophy.com/interview/design-article-1000000019-marc-newson.htm; accessed 08 May 2010

[2] Ibid.

Bibliography

 http://designmuseum.org/design/marc-newson

http://www.gagosian.com/artists/marc-newson/

http://www.ikepod.com/

http://www.designboom.com/portrait/newson/newson_biography.html

http://www.kettererkunst.com/bio/marc-newson-1962.shtml

http://metroartwork.com/Marc-Newson-biography-artwork-m-142.html

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