You have to love the designer who is so accomplished that people from all industries seek his design talent. Who says you have to stick to modern furniture, textiles, art or lighting?
Marc Newson, at 41, he has already worked across a wide range of disciplines to create everything from chairs, household objects, a bicycle and a concept car to restaurants, a recording studio and interiors of private and commercial jets, for clients based in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Newson spent his childhood traveling in Europe and Asia, before studying jewelery and sculpture at Sydney College of the Arts. He started experimenting with furniture design as a student and, after graduating in 1984, was awarded a grant from the Australian Crafts Council, and staged an exhibition – featuring the Lockheed Lounge – at the Roslyn Oxley Gallery in Sydney.
When the Japanese entrepreneur, Teruo Kurosaki, offered to put his designs into production, Newson moved to Tokyo, where he lived and worked from 1987 to 1991. Kurosaki’s company, Idée, manufactured such pieces as the Orgone Lounge, Black Hole Table and Felt Chair, which were widely exhibited in Asia and Europe.
Newson set up a studio in Paris in 1991, and won commissions from prestigious European manufacturers including Flos for lighting, Cappellini and Moroso for furniture. He formed a joint venture, the Ikepod Watch Company, to manufacture the watches he designed, and produced limited editions of aluminium furniture including the Event Horizon Table and Orgone Chair. During the mid-1990s, Newson also designed a series of restaurants – Coast in London, Manchester’s Mash & Air and Osman in Cologne and Canteen in Manhattan – the interior of Syn, a Tokyo recording studio and a retail system for Belgian designer, Walter Von Beirendonck’s W.&L.T. streetwear label
In 1997, Newson moved to London, where he set up Marc Newson Ltd as a larger studio capable of tackling more ambitious industrial projects. He has since designed mass manufactured glassware for Iittala, kitchen and bathroom accessories for Alessi, furniture and household objects for Magis and B&B Italia, Idée and Dupont Corian. Newson has also designed vehicles such as a bicycles, the MN01, for Denmark’s Biomega, a concept car, the 021C for Ford, and the interiors of a Falcon 900B private jet. In 2002-3 he designed the Lever House Restaurant in the famous Lever House Building in Manhattan, New York, a Business Class seat, Skybed for Qantas, a cookware range for Tefal and a bathroom range, The Newson Suite, for Ideal Standard. He opened a second studio in Paris.
In 2004, new works include Talby, a mobile telephone for Japan’s KDDI, the uniforms worn by the Australian Olympic team designed in collaboration with Richard Allan and worn at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, a shoe, Zvezdochka, for Nike, a range of clothing for G-Star, luggage for Samsonite, and aircraft interiors for the new A380 fleet for Qantas.
As well as winning numerous awards, including three Good Design Awards from the Chicago Atheneum, Newson has exhibited extensively. He created Bucky, a sculptural installation for the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris in 1995, and a major retrospective of his work was held at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney (August 2001 – February 2002).
In 2003, Newson was commissioned by the Fondation Cartier to design a piece of his choosing, coinciding with his 40th birthday. The result was Kelvin40, a concept jet, exhibited at the Fondation Cartier in Paris (January – May 2004) and consequently at London’s Design Museum (October 2004 – January 2005).
Newson’s designs are present in most major permanent museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, London’s Design Museum, Musée national d’Art moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou and the Vitra Design Museum. A book on Marc Newson’s work was published by Booth-Clibborn Editions in 1999, and one by Thames and Hudson in 2003.
A DVD was released in January 2005, and a Phaidon monograph is to be published in 2006.
Marc Newson is Adjunct Professor in Design at Sydney College of the Arts.