A Space Oddity

“If somebody asked me about my inspiration, I would say that it’s not the people, and it’s not the things, it’s travel and experience of different environments”

Marc Newson

Australian born Marc Newson is one of the world’s most sought after industrial designers of the 21st century. His ability to work around different typologies has given him the opportunity to do almost anything. Unlike most designers, Newson is known for designing everything; from cars to bikes, furniture and homewares; along with restaurants and interiors for high end aircrafts.

From a young age, Marc had been fortunate enough to travel around Europe with his mother, and later moved to South Korea with his stepfather. Therefore, by the time he left school, Newson had experienced life outside of the Antipodes, and had been exposed to the aesthetics of other continents.

Newson was entranced by the 1960s space-age utopian cartoon The Jetsons, and the popular Sydney surf culture of the early 80s. His enthusiasm for such motifs was drawn from their fantasy and optimism, something shared by the culture of Australia at the time. The Concorde aircraft was built, man was walking on the moon, and exciting things were happening in films like Alien and Bladerunner. It is evident that these influences have developed throughout his body of work.

Italian manufacturer Cappellini was the first company to edit Newson’s work, beginning with the signature felt armchair and quirky Hangman coat rack. Newson continued his Italian collaborations with other high end manufacturers such as Magis, Moroso, and the famous Japanese interior brand Idee where he developed his well-known Embryo Chair and Guppy Lamp.

Newson’s most celebrated works, like his aluminium Lockheed Lounge, are limited edition design-art pieces whose aesthetic reputations have outstripped their practical purpose. The Lockheed lounge sold for more than £2 million at Phillips Auctions in 2015, placing his work amongst the highest selling Australian designs at auction.

This doesn’t mean, however, that all of Newson’s work is out of reach for the average consumer. On the contrary, he is determined to influence the level and quality of design all around us, like his simple kettle and toaster that are now manufactured by Sunbeam.

Our upcoming Modern Design Auction features a selection of fantastic works by Mark Newson including his Embryo Chair for Idee and Helice Floor Lamp
for Flos.

Anna Grassham / Head of Modern Design