"I'm proud to say I'm a geek. You have to be a geek...Good designers are geeks."
Born in Sydney, Australia and growing up in the age of the moon landings, Marc Newson combines retro and futuristic design to create products that are hugely unique. He seems a man who is incredibly influenced by the want for things to improve. The annoyance of bad design, bad products and bad interaction have motivated him forward to simplicity. The simple principles of design are clear with every piece he creates, merging simple function and sculptural form. From chairs to cars, cutlery to spaceships, Newson has worked on projects of all scale but retains this simple and modernist form that instantly stand out as his own.
"For me it's design...it's the same skill that you apply to all of these thing. The materials change. The scale changes. But beyond that, really, I solve the problem as it arises, or as it is presented to me."
He commits these ideas of design across all of his products, refining and implementing until the final outcome is a simple, working product. The want to make things simple is understandable, in a world where badly designed products overcome us and make every step that little harder, this simplicity is not only a refreshing step forward but also a glimpse back to the retro past when everything seemed a little easier.
"Marc Newson matters because he is different in a world of sameness."
- J Mays
"I'm proud to say I'm a geek. You have to be a geek...Good designers are geeks, bad designers are not geeks. I think there is a correlation. Geeks are interested in detail. They are obsessed. They are interested in the minutiae of how things work. And if you are not, then how can you really know what you are doing."
Every piece that Newson designs seems to capture the same cleanliness and simplicity, this eye for detail and the want to refine is part of Newson's success. It is an obsession of making a product as perfect as possible. The curves and materials on his work are finished to the nth degree, with master craftsmen working on every aspect. From the finished metal of his chairs to the fully furnished boutique he is a man of complete ownership. His interiors reflect his style in a more encompassing manner, with the retro / futuristic mix creating an almost filmic aesthetic, as though set designs for a 70's sci-fi.
“I think Marc is fairly peerless now. Marc’s forms are often imitated, but what other designers seldom imitate is his preoccupation with materials and processes. You have to start with an understanding of the material. Often your innovation is just coming up with a new way to use material.”
Marc Newson appeared in a superb episode of Imagine some years ago, a must watch for anyone interested in the process of product design. It also shows some interesting uses for the emergence of 3d printing.
Further Reading and References
Marc Newson Website - http://www.marc-newson.com/intro.htm
Marc Newson: Urban Spaceman - http://www.bbc.co.uk/imagine/episode/marc_newson.shtml
Is There Anything Marc Newson Hasn't Designed? - http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/magazine/marc-newson.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0