Interview with Marc Newson : design elements


Interview with Marc Newson

categories Designer, Interviews    

“I’m fascinated with materials, with processes, with technologies.”

Marc Newson

London-based Australian designer Marc Newson has designed everything imaginable – furniture, yachts, mobile phones, footwear, bicycles, kitchen accessories, cars, surfboards, interiors and even a  spaceplane. From the moment I first saw his Embryo chair some years ago I knew design was a part of me. I am inspired by Marc Newson’s ability to touch so many different areas. His designs have achieved the status of modern design icons and infiltrated the pop culture appearing in Madonna’s videos and in Austin Powers films. Having set numerous records at auction, Marc Newson’s work now accounts for almost 25% of the total contemporary design market. In 2009, his aluminium Lockheed Lounge Chair went for $1.6 million – the highest price ever for a piece of contemporary design art. Marc Newson was included in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and has received numerous awards. In addition to his core business, he has also founded a number of successful companies, even a fine watch brand and an aerospace design consultancy, and has also held senior management positions at client companies; including currently being the Creative Director of Qantas Airways. Marc Newson likes to read scientific journals. The Japanese culture inspires him. He has 2 children, loves to surf and snowboard.

Embryo Chair and Wood Chair

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a designer?

I did’t plan to be a designer – I just started making things at art school. I studied jewellery and silversmithing but convinced my tutors that the chair I was making for my final show was like jewellery as it was ‘worn‘ close to the body… I got away with it and then continued to make pieces of furniture. I have always made things – when I was about twelve I made a watch out of a piece of plexiglass and some old watch hands – and I was always taking apart old bicycles and remaking them into other forms of transport, like go-karts…

Looking back at your first project what knowledge do you wish you had back then?

I think experience is the most useful knowledge – so I couldn’t acquire knowledge without practical experience. Knowing how to use different kinds of tools would have been useful at the beginning.

Samsonite Scope and Ford 021c

Is there something that connects all your projects?

I think there is something that’s recognisable – that there is something – like a thread, that connects all my work. Well – it is all my DNA I guess.

What do you enjoy most in your work?

Learning about different technologies and processes through the diverse industries I encounter in the course of my work.

Nike Zvezdochka sneaker and Aquariva speedboat – Marc Newson’s reinterpretation of an Italian icon

What do you love to do when you are not designing?

Play with my kids and sleep.

What are your favorite books?

It depends – but usually not novels. Often it is background reading on the science behind a latest project.

TREK Art Bike designed for Lance Armstrong and Kelvin 40 jet

You have received numerous awards and was included in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. You are represented in the exhibitions of many museums including the MoMA in New York, London’s Design Museum, the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Vitra Design Museum. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

I think my greatest achievement is to have had the opportunity to design so many different projects from a soap dish through to a spaceplane.

What does success mean to you?

I don’t really think about it – I am too busy working and thinking about the project in hand. Maybe one day I will sit back and feel a sense of validation. I do feel that luck has had a lot to do with my success.

Atmos 561 and Astrium Space Jet

What’s your advice to upcoming designers?

Always make things and learn how things are made.

My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

Improving on what went before, simplification, and the use of new materials, technologies and processes.

photos: Marc Newson Ltd


21 Kommentare zu “Interview with Marc Newson”

  1. Manuela am 10.07.2012 um 07:55 Uhr 

    be still my heart… Maria, you interviewed Marc Newson? oh my! such a wonderful interview! thank you! “experience is the most useful knowledge” xx

  2. Tim H. am 10.07.2012 um 08:04 Uhr 

    marc newson is the best! and he never wears a suit. cool interview maria! i have a poster of his nickel surfboard – more surfing, less boring meetings :)

  3. Jonas am 10.07.2012 um 08:43 Uhr 

    Amazing portfolio!

  4. Tereza am 10.07.2012 um 13:30 Uhr 

    He is great, isn’t he? Another fabulous interview, congratulations Maria!
    Now, have a nice trip with your brazilian friend.
    Tenha uma ótima semana.
    Beijos from Brazil

  5. Stefan B. am 10.07.2012 um 13:38 Uhr 

    Wonderful piece Maria! Marc Newson is one of my favorites (along with Jonathan Ive) and I’m so glad to learn more about how he approaches his work. GREAT WORK, MARC!

    Stefan B., Hamburg

  6. cabbagerose am 10.07.2012 um 14:26 Uhr 

    well, well, he is a tall drink of water, isn’t he? fab interview, maria. i’m a fan. xx

  7. q. am 10.07.2012 um 15:00 Uhr 

    the world’s best designer! wonderful interview! I’m going to copy Marc (at least going to play with my kids and sleep) :)

  8. Dawn {The Alternative Wife} am 10.07.2012 um 15:30 Uhr 

    What a fabulous interview! He’s such an incredible designer. A favorite of mine :) xoxo

  9. Mathilda am 10.07.2012 um 18:39 Uhr 

    Lass mal einen lieben Gruß bei dir,hab momentan wenig Zeit, aber toller Mann :lol:

    LG Mathilda :-)

  10. Meenal @ maison marigold am 10.07.2012 um 19:13 Uhr 

    What a genius!! Thankyou Maria for this wonderful interview..I’d say it’s my favorite from the series..much love..xx Meenal

  11. petjaistheone am 11.07.2012 um 07:34 Uhr 

    fabulous interview
    1. the world’s best designer: Mother Nature
    2. the world’s second best: Marc Newson

  12. La Boheme am 11.07.2012 um 09:22 Uhr 

    Oh mine oh mine Maria! The last two answers are particularly grabbing my heart. Amazing designer and amazing interview. big hug to you!

  13. Andrew am 11.07.2012 um 09:56 Uhr 

    superb interview!

  14. Vivian am 11.07.2012 um 10:20 Uhr 

    Wow… loooove this interview, Maria! Amazing designer!

  15. classiq am 11.07.2012 um 12:57 Uhr 

    His work is so vast, designing so many different things. I love the piece of advice for upcoming designers. Great interview, Maria!

  16. Fabrizio am 11.07.2012 um 14:15 Uhr 

    I enjoyed the interview and also reading the comments. I coudn’t win the Lockheed auction :) but I have a cool g star shirt designed by Marc Newson. I read that he likes Thai cuisine. I own an Italian restaurant but for Mr. Newson we’ll cook Thai too (Dom Pérignon vintage inclusive :) Thank you for this wonderful interview! I’m a fan.

  17. Ann am 12.07.2012 um 08:06 Uhr 

    He is so talented…
    I’m a fan actually.
    Nice to read your interview,
    I enjoyed reading it.

  18. Sarah Carter am 12.07.2012 um 14:09 Uhr 

    Love those chairs! And his portfolio is amazing.
    Take a look at this collection… unique, too.

  19. krystal/village am 12.07.2012 um 21:06 Uhr 

    he is super interesting! not to mention quite handsome. am i allowed to say that? is he going to read this? that’s embarrassing but whatever.

  20. Style Maniac am 12.07.2012 um 23:54 Uhr 

    Wow, I had no idea he was behind so many great designs. Especially love that car.

  21. Mary Jo am 13.07.2012 um 17:07 Uhr 

    Love the gorgeous simplicity. Hope you have a wonderful weekend Maria!

    xo Mary Jo

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