Versatile, precise and creative by nature, Marc Newson is an undeniable reference for industrial design. We interview him to get to know a little more of his brilliant mind, from which hundreds of ideas have emerged. Horse Magazine has chosen Marc Newson as the character who identifies the best with the value of October: CREATIVITY.
When he was a kid, while his friends opened boxes and broke wrappings to reach for their toys, Marc Newson (Sydney, 1963) made them with his own hands. That’s what he liked, he felt different. Some years later, the kid became a prestigious industrial designer – for the Time magazine is one of 100 most influential people in the world –, who maintained such meticulousness and precocious creativity in all his works.
Before he succeeded, Newson’s restless mind had received a key impulse: during his adolescence, as a 12-year-old he travelled around Europe with his mother for 12 months. His world then got wider and such experience influenced him forever, because now the designer enjoys discovering new places in order to feed his curiosity and works. Then, he studied jewellery and lived in Korea and Tokyo, experiences that provided him with the technique and the taste for details.
In the 80s, 30 years ago, he started his professional career and since then all kinds of creations have emerged from his head: furniture, watches, yatchs, containers, suitcases, planes… Not only leaves he his stamp in brands and clients of all kind (many of them from the luxury sector), but he also has de ability to transform everything he touches into an icon of modern design. A power praised by his clients and recognised around the world.
His creativity is demonstrated by the tens of awards he has received due to his view for design, by having his artworks exhibited in first-line museums (such as MoMa in New York, Design Museum and V&A in London, and the Centre Georges Pompidou) and by the continuous jobs from prominent companies.
He usually works for Louis Vuitton, Qantas, Knoll, Hennessy and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Among his last creations are the packaging for the Louis Vuitton’s perfume line and the ultralight suitcase collection for the same brand.
It has also gone on sale the new G-Star Raw’s autumn/winter 2016 collection, a brand for which he has been working in capsule collections since 2004. Marc Newson has explained to us that he has more projects, some at large scale, but he can’t tell us about them for the moment.
HORSE: It is said that you are the most influential industrial designer of your generation. Do you feel identified with this description?
MARC NEWSON: I certainly feel flattered, but I think it’s something justifiable because I have been working hard and constantly for 30 years.
Which other industrial designs have influenced your work, or can be considered as a reference?
I admire the work of many people and they have possible influenced me, but not only are they industrial designers. Also artists, scientists, engineers and artisans, for example. Let me mention some of them: the designer and architect Buckminster Fuller, the Russian mathematician George Voronoi, the industrial designer Achille Castiglione, or the architect and designer Ettore Sottsass. The designers Bruno Murani, Miles van der Rohe and Enzo Mari, the versatile psychoanalyst Willhelm Reich, the architect George Nelson…
Looking back, how do you see your first projects from the 80s and beginning of 90s? How has your style evolved since then?
I can surely see an evolution and what I like is that all my work can be recognised as mine. For me it’s of prime importance that my work remains, that it resists the test of time. I appreciate my first designs, but in some they feel distant.
In Horse Magazine we talk about architecture and interior design. What kind of architectural projects have you performed?
I have finished some architectural projects during my career, including restaurants, bars, airport lounges, hotel rooms or store interiors.
A LUXURY DESIGNER
“For me, the word luxury has become a slogan”, says Marc Newson when we asked him about what he thinks of luxury: “Now we don’t necessarily talk about inherent values, like timelessness, or the most ethereal nature we want to express when we pronounce luxury”, states the industrial designer, who defends and remodels immediately: “Luxury should be a state of mind, besides a business reality. As it happens with someone who works in the material world, for an object to be considered luxury, it needs to have certain characteristics, evidence and consistency. And the ability of trends to go beyond, to show the best absolute qualities of craftwork and materials, as well as to ignore the economical aspect in the moment of creation.”
“A luxury object should go beyond trends and ignore the economical aspect in the moment of its creation”
Your first piece, Lockheed Lounge, is still your most famous design because a private collector payed 2 million dollars for it. Why do you think it has become such an icon?
I think that now Lockheed Lounge costs so much because people don’t have problems in the art world, in that sense. I mean, 50 years ago, decorative art and visual arts were considered the same, but in recently times design and art have been divided. And in the art world, people speculate so much, it could perfectly be another stock market where you buy shares. So it could be said that the design world has something to learn in this area.
What is the difference between your job and any other?
I’m the worst person to answer that. I’ve been working in the same job for the last 20 years, but it wasn’t until recently that this trend has spread out. My first public exhibition in 1986 with Lockheed Lounge was in a contemporary art gallery, well before I succeeded as a “reliable” industrial designer.
Is there any artwork you would like to own?
The Siren Vase (480 – 470 B.C.), which represents Homer’s Odyssey.
What do you think about the evolution of industrial design? Do you think that there is a tendency towards a greater environmental awareness?
Absolutely, it has to be this way. I think that now more than ever there is a need for producing pieces of high quality that last and can be repaired if needed. This is not the time for producing disposable pieces that end in the rubbish tip.
“Now there is a need for producing pieces of high quality that last. This is not the time for producing disposable pieces”
Horse Magazine identifies you with October’s concept of creativity. What does creativity mean to you?
I personally think that creativity is the design of things: to think and to sketch ideas. I bring my sketchbook with me everywhere. I constantly think of the projects I have in my sleeves: I fight with the design puzzles in my head and I create solutions.
Where do you get inspiration from? Where does Marc Newson’s inspiration come from?
I am inspired by creativity in many ways: from artists, musicians, film-makers or even landscapists… historical and old influences. And also the popular culture in all its forms, as well as the natural world. I am also continuously inspired by new materials, processes and technologies.
In Horse Magazine we publish articles about special trips and unique experiences. Throughout your life you have had the opportunity to visit many places. Which trip did you enjoy the most and what place would you like to come back to?
I have travelled, and I virtually travel every week of my life. A memorable trip was the one I did with my wife (we were not married at that time, and it was before we had children): we took the Trans-Siberian Railway through Mongolia. We made a mistake in the booking and we ended up in a carriage that was even worse than 3rd class. That’s why we weren’t very comfortable, but we laughed a lot. I would like to do it again, with more comfort. It was amazing. I would also like to go across Japan, one of my favourite destinations.
Which is your favourite colour?
I like some colours: celadon green, o21c orange or the Yves Klein blue.
And what is your favourite movie and book?
I like Kurosawa and Kubrick’s movies. One of my favourite movies is Solaris, a film from 1972 directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.
What do you usually do in your free time?
It depends on where I am. In my London house I enjoy relaxing with my girls. Maybe I go to St James’s Park for a walk. If I am in Ithaca, I like building walls of dry stone. In Sydney I like walking in the beach, the route from Bondi to Congee is my favourite.
In Horse Magazine we are willing to see his next projects that for sure will surprise us due to his creative and practical design.
Traductora: Paloma Sánchez