Marc Newson: Pop On/Pop Off
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Marc Newson: Pop On/Pop Off

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Marc Newson is one of the most accomplished and influential designers of his generation, having applied his funkily futuristic but technically rigorous approach to everything from a lounge chair to an airplane cabin, from a perfume bottle to a bicycle, from a concept car to a restaurant. In Pop On/Pop Off, his multiplicity of work is presented in a pop-up book of selected projects, packaged neatly in a box, and stuffed with a bonus T-shirt and buttons. Born in Sydney, Australia, Newson grew up in the beachfront hotel (furnished with cool Italian designs) that his mother managed. He spent his teens traveling in Europe and Asia, before returning to the Sydney College of Arts to study jewelry and sculpture. (He notes that it was a huge advantage to grow up in a country without an indigenous design tradition.) The first piece of furniture he exhibited was the Lockheed Lounge--a chaise longue crossed, as it were, with a blob of mercury--and it landed him recognition around the world. When the Japanese entrepreneur Teruo Kurosaki offered to put his designs into production, Newson moved to Tokyo, where he lived and worked from 1987 to 1991. Newson then set up a studio in Paris in 1991, and won commissions from prestigious European manufacturers including Flos for lighting, and Cappellini and Moroso for furniture. He formed a joint venture, the Ikepod Watch Company, to manufacture the watches he designed, and produced limited editions of aluminum furniture including the Event Horizon Table and Orgone Chair. During the mid-1990s, Newson also designed a series of restaurants--Coast in London, Manchester's Mash & Air, and Osman in Cologne--the interior of a Tokyo recording studio, and a retail system for Belgian designer Walter Von Beirendonck. In 1997, Newson moved to London and promptly won two dream commissions: designing the cabin and livery of a Falcon 900B long-range jet and a concept car for Ford. The car, named the 021C for its Pantone Orange color (though it also appear in lime green), is truly novel: doors that open from the center, swiveling seats, a pop-out trunk, a dashboard that could have been designed by Apple, and one giant rear light that runs blob-like across the car's back end. Other industrial jobs followed: glassware for Littala, kitchen and bathroom accessories for Alessi, furniture and household objects for Magis and B&B Italia, and bicycles for Denmark's Biomega company. Current projects include the Lever House restaurant in New York, aircraft interiors and seats for Qantas, new luggage, cookware and bathroom ranges for companies like Ideal Standard and Tefal, and a mobile telephone for Japan's KDDI. Newson has also been commissioned to design uniforms for the Australian Olympic Team, to be worn at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

As well as winning numerous awards, Newson has exhibited extensively. A major retrospective of his work was held at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney from August 2001 to February 2002 and Kelvin40, his concept jet, was exhibited at the Fondation Cartier in Paris in 2004 (where Bucky, a sculptural installation, was mounted in 1995). Newson's designs are part of most major permanent museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, London's Design Museum, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Vitra Design Museum. Newson is Adjunct Professor in Design at Sydney College of the Arts.

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