Marc Newson approaches design as an experimental exercise in structure and advanced technology, combined with a tactile and exacting exploration of materials, processes, and skills. As an industrial designer—the only one represented by Gagosian—his reach is broad and diverse, incorporating watches, footwear, luggage, and aircraft interiors. Since the outset of his career, he has also produced limited-edition furniture, including the iconic Lockheed Lounge (1988). As distinctions between art and design become increasingly blurred, Newson remains a trailblazer, having pursued parallel activities in exclusive and mass production for more than thirty years.
Born in Sydney in 1963, Newson graduated from Sydney College of the Arts in 1986. Receiving a grant from the Australian Crafts Council, he staged his first solo exhibition, Seating for Six, at Roslyn Oxley9 in Sydney, when he was just twenty-three. By the age of twenty-five, he had produced the hand-built Lockheed Lounge, a chaise lounge named after its riveted aluminum panels’ resemblance to the aircraft engineered by Lockheed Martin. After living and working in Sydney, Tokyo, and Paris, he relocated to London, where his company, Marc Newson Limited, has been based since 1997. Newson has also concomitantly held senior positions at clients’ companies: he was creative director of Qantas Airways from 2005 to 2015, and he has been a designer for special projects at Apple since 2014. In 2019, Marc and Sir Jonathan Ive founded the creative collective LoveFrom.
Newson is perhaps best known for applying his aesthetic vision and technical mastery to innovative items of furniture, such as Extruded Tables and Voronoi Shelf (both 2007), both carved from single blocks of Carrara and Bardiglio marble respectively. He has also produced pieces using the Chinese cloisonné technique, revealing in the process his training as a silversmith and watchmaker. Crafted by hand in Beijing, these works feature an intricate type of enameling typically used for figurines and vases yet here applied at a larger scale in all-over patterns to copper chairs, lounges, and desks.
Newson has also made extensive use of glass with a series of cast glass chairs comprised of pairs of hollow quarter-spheres, each colored upper half resting on a translucent base that reflects and refracts its hue, suggesting eyes or sea creatures. Another artisanal technique usually reserved for smaller objects—this one from Venice—appears in the Murrina series, which includes a console, a desk, and a low table. These works were made by slicing multicolored glass rods before heating and fusing them together in a mold, revealing densely patterned cross sections. The streamlined results combine sleek outer surfaces with vivid internal coloration and hint at cells and other biological structures.
Newson continues to investigate, reconsider, and remake objects identified with a wide variety of cultural contexts. After producing a nickel surfboard for American surfer Garrett McNamara, which was presented at Gagosian, New York, in 2007, he produced a series of boards in aluminum. He has also exhibited an Aikuchi sword made by swordsmith Saburo Nobufusa Hokke, who is a Japanese Living National Treasure from the Tōhoku region. By relocating such objects to the realm of fine art, Newson underscores their broader significance, showing the value of technical precision to be a functional and an aesthetic concern.
In addition to having his work in numerous significant museum and private collections of art and design, and exhibiting internationally, Newson has been included in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list and has received numerous awards and distinctions including honorary doctorates from the Royal College of Art, London, and the University of Sydney. He was made Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) by the Royal Society of Arts in 2006 and appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2012 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Toyo Ito, Marc Newson, and Koji Yanai
The Tokyo Toilet project has added twelve new public restrooms by renowned architects and designers to the city’s map since 2020, with five more scheduled to open in 2022. To learn more about the initiative, the Quarterly spoke with founder Koji Yanai and two of the participating designers, Toyo Ito and Marc Newson.
Marc Newson and Derek Blasberg
Marc Newson tells Derek Blasberg about his newest creations, explaining the backstory of these ornate works.
Behind the Art
In this video, Marc Newson provides an overview of his latest exhibition. He details the various technical processes behind his new designs, including works in cloisonné, surfboards, swords, and large-scale glass chairs.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2019
The Spring 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Red Pot with Lute Player #2 by Jonas Wood on its cover.
July 5–September 10, 2022
Gagosian Shop, London
Marc Newson is taking over the Gagosian Shop in London’s historic Burlington Arcade. Newson will showcase large-scale cloisonné furniture alongside pieces in various forms of glass that push the boundaries of the medium. Included are his Magnolia chair (2019) and cloisonné lounge, which adapt the ancient craft of Chinese enamel, aluminum surfboards, a cast glass chair, and a table from the Murrina series. The presentation coincides with the launch of a recently published catalogue that documents Newson’s intensive manufacturing process.
Also available are personalized iPhone cases from the artist’s collaboration with cult brand Chaos. The Marc Newson × Chaos collection is inspired by Newson’s enameling techniques and features motifs such as his signature amoebic “orgone” pattern.
For the first month, Gagosian Shop will present dresses by Alaïa—the fashion house founded by designer Azzedine Alaïa (1935–2017)—inspired by Picasso’s Tanagra ceramics. Alaïa was a longtime friend and collaborator of Newson’s.
Marc Newson takeover at the Gagosian Shop, London, 2022. Artwork © Marc Newson. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd
FIAC Online 2021
March 2–12, 2021
Gagosian is pleased to present Printemps oublié for the first online edition of FIAC. This curated presentation reflects the dual character of springtime as a reminder of past trials and the harbinger of a vibrant new season to come.
All the artworks will appear on the Gagosian website and a rotating selection will appear in the inaugural FIAC Online Viewing Rooms, from March 4 to 7.
Jeff Koons, Bluebird Planter, 2010–16 © Jeff Koons
Saturday, June 29, 2019, 4pm
Gagosian, Hong Kong
Gagosian Senior Director Han-I Wang will lead a tour of Marc Newson’s first exhibition of limited-edition furniture in China. This presentation explores Newson’s use of increasingly rare decorative processes at an unconventionally large, even unprecedented, scale, as well as his curiosity with the streamlined, simple beauty of Asian art and design. From cloisonné to cast glass chairs to Aikuchi swords, Wang will take a closer look at how the artist blurs the boundaries between sculpture, furniture, and the decorative arts. To attend the free event, RSVP to email@example.com. Space is limited.
Marc Newson, Cloisonné Yellow Chair, 2017 © Marc Newson
Our Lives in Tubes
April 21–December 30, 2018
FRAC Grand Large—Hauts-de-France, Dunkirk, France
Tubology: Our Lives in Tubes offers a totally new reading of the FRAC Grand Large collection from the 1960s up to the present day, and speculates about the prerequisites for rendering art and design relevant to a society mutating at high speed. Work by Marc Newson and Taryn Simon is included.
Taryn Simon, Research Marijuana Crop Grow Room, National Center for Natural Products Research, Oxford, Mississippi, 2007 © Taryn Simon