Born in 1963 in Sydney, Australia, Marc Newson works as an industrial furniture designer. His craft was learned at the Sydney College of the Arts where he specialized in sculpture and jewelry. He staged his first exhibition funded through a grant from the Australian Crafts Council in 1986 where he designed the Lockheed Lounge. While young designers usually cannot command a high price for their work, the Lockheed Lounge sold at Sotheby’s for $968,000 in 2006 setting a record for the highest amount paid for a living designer.
He moved to Tokyo working for Teruo Kurosaki of Idée and then to Paris where he designed for the Italian modern furniture manufacturer Cappelini , the “Orgone Lounge ” and the “Event Horizon” table. In this same year he opened his own studio.
Moving again in 1997 to London where he formed a partnership with Benjamin de Haan establishing Marc Newson Ltd., he returned to Sydney where he currently is a design professor at the same school that he attended, the Sydney College of the Arts. He is also the owner and founder of a watch company, Ikepod and creative director for Qantas Airways.
It was in 1998 that he produced his first real signature modern furniture piece, the Embryo Chair”. Made from aluminum and neoprene for the seating, it is an interesting play on the rounded volumes associated with the embryo sac. Supported by three legs the front leg is passed through a widened opening emphasizing the roundness and the volume of the chair’s shape.
Already showing great talent for a wide variety of items including household items, shoes, watches and commercial interiors, he has ventured into the world of designing speedboats. As a modern designer this may seem a deviation but for him in collaboration with Gagosian, he will produce 22 boats 33’ long named Aquariva in the tradition of luxury speedboats, Riva. Consistent with modern design he is experimenting with materials that are not typically incorporated into luxury speedboats such as anodized aluminum which lightened the weight of the boat increasing its available top speed.
“Luxury in an object can be defined as it having a lasting quality rather than it being easily disposable…I have always wanted my work to be timeless.”
And so perhaps his own words come true as he was named by Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. Contributing to almost 25% of the total contemporary design market, he has been nicknamed as the rock star of contemporary design.