Marc Newson is Australia’s most successful contemporary designer. Since graduating from Sydney College of the Arts in 1984 he has worked in Japan, Italy, France and Britain. He has designed furniture, lighting, interiors, watches, homewares, a bike, a concept car and a jet and more recently a boat. He appears regularly in international design journals and his work is represented in collections thoughout the world.
The Powerhouse Museum supported Marc Newson since early in his career, acquiring one of his first chairs, the ‘Marc 1’, in 1985 and commissioning this ‘Embryo’ chair in 1988 for the exhibition ‘Take a seat’. This chair was made by DeDeCe in Sydney, Australia, in 1988.
This chair, covered in bright pink neoprene wet suit fabric, received wide publicity when first shown and, like the ‘Lockheed Lounge’, has since become one of Newson’s signature pieces and a 20th century design icon.
The Orgone Chair is an Easy chair constructed of neoprene and polyurethane on a steel frame. The chair is shaped in a fluid biomorphic form with the back and seat forming one amoeba shaped piece. The back and seat are made of polyurethane foam covered in fluorescent pink sponge neoprene, zippered down the back and supported on three legs of lacquered tube steel. The front legs are right angled into the body of the seat through a hollow tube strengthened by outer aluminium flanges.
The Embryo chair was the first Newson chair to go into production. The Embryo chair looks familiar now, but its rounded shape was radically new 20 years ago. –
“No one was making things in bright colours that were curvy and seductive and sensual,” said Newson. “I’d been subconsciously developing a style, and with that piece I think I defined what that style was.”
Like the ‘Orgone’ and the ‘Wood’ chair of the same year, the ‘Embryo’ represents an important milestone in Newson’s career, a watershed between his Sydney and international practices. Stylistically, it falls between the ‘Insect’ chair of 1986 and the ‘Felt’ and ‘Wicker’ chairs of 1989-90.
Designer: Marc Newson; Sydney, New South Wales; 1988
Maker: De De Ce ; Sydney, New South Wales; 1988
Registration number 88/661
Marc Newson (b. 1963) reflects a particular kind of possibilily for contemporary designer-makers.
Trained in the early 1980s as a jeweller and sculptor rather than a designer, he continued to value making his own prototypes until th mid-l990s. ‘I developed a passion for technique, for geometry and for the possible rapport between art, science and technology.’
The Embryo chair, based on his trademark three-dimensional figure-eight shape, Newson’s sources of ideas have ranged from furniture in classical paintings to fonns suggested by the possibilities of higb-tech materials and aeronautical technology, all with a concern for immaculate crafted finish.
Newson is now based in London but designs objects and building intenors on-line and communicates through international manufacturers and distributors world·wide.
‘I still conceive on paper,’ he says, ‘but with the compuler I can totally prepare an Object for tooling without having to create models … But after ten years in the trade, I’ve honed my knowledge enough to know what’s going to work and what’s not” – Marc Newson – ‘Liquid Geometry’ – Monument Magazine 20, 1997