Marc Newson – Lucky Strike winner, 2011

Marc Newson – Lucky Strike winner, 2011

The annual Lucky Strike Designer Award is sponsored by the Raymond Loewy Foundation and is presented “in recognition of the life work of outstanding, internationally successful designers.”

It is presented to one recipient each year in recognition of either his or her lifetime achievements, or career of an individual whose work in design has helped improve the social and cultural conditions of everyday life. The award highlights the broad spectrum of design – the creation of things, both in terms of their content and formally – in its entirety and of bringing public awareness to it.

A statement from the expert jury explaining the decision said that Marc Newson “managed to unite efficient lifestyle product design and pioneering concept ideas, as well as prototypes which have been recognised worldwide as a total work of art, in his creative works.”

Newson received the Euro 50,000 prize on Oct 27th 2011 at the Stilwerk Design Centre in Hamburg.

While the award itself may be controversial, this year’s winner most certainly is not. One could at best ask why it has taken until 2011 for Marc Newson to win the Award – as the 21st winner in a long series of outstanding designers, fashionmakers, photographers and intermediaries.

Previous winners : Paola Antonelli (2010) / Stefan Sagmeister (2009) / Ken Adam (2008) / Dieter Rams (2007) / Ferran Adrià (2006) / John Maeda (2005) / Philippe Starck (2004) / Kenji Ekuan (2003) / Patrick le Quément (2002) / Michael Ballhaus (2001) / Ingo Maurer (2000) / Donna Karan (1999) / Phoenix Design (1998) / Bruno Sacco (1997) / Peter Lindbergh (1996) / Kurt Weidemann (1995) / Rolf Fehlbaum (1994) / Karl Lagerfeld (1993) / Richard Sapper (1992) and Hartmut Esslinger (1991)

About Marc Newson

Born in 1963 in Sydney, Australia, Marc Newson spent his childhood travelling in Europe and Asia, before studying jewellery and sculpture at Sydney College of the Arts (SCA).

He started experimenting with furniture design as a student and, after graduating in 1984, was awarded a grant from the Australian Crafts Council, following which he organised an exhibition – featuring his legendary Lockheed Lounge – at the Roslyn Oxley Gallery in Sydney. The futuristic lounge chair, an icon of contemporary design, acquired additional fame in Madonna’s music video “Rain”.

After working and living in Tokyo and Paris, Marc Newson moved on to London in 1997, where he founded Marc Newson Ltd.

He designed industrially manufactured glass items for littala, kitchen and bath accessories for Alessi as well as furniture, lighting and household objects for Magis, B&B Italia, Idée and Dupont Corian.

In addition, he designed vehicles, such as the MN01 motorbike for the Danish manufacturer Biomega and the 021C concept car for Ford, as well as the interior outfitting of a Falcon 900B private jet. Newson also designed the uniforms for the Australian Olympic Games team in 2004 in Athens, Greece, the Zvezdochka shoe for Nike and fashion collection for G-Star as well as the Scope luggage series for Samsonite.

In 2006, Marc took over the position of Creative Director at Qantas Airways and continued to work on the development of the interior design for the A380 as well as the airport lounges in Sydney and Melbourne.

Marc Newson’s work has not only been honoured with numerous awards – including six Good Design Awards from Chicago Atheneum – it has also been displayed in various exhibitions.

His pieces are present in most major permanent museum collections – for example at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the London Design Museum, the Musée d’Art Moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou as well as at the Vitra Design Museum.

Marc Newson is an exceptional professor for design at Sydney College of the Arts and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. In the United Kingdom, he has been appointed “Royal Designer for Industry”.


The first attempt to create an object in its own right was, he says, his uncle’s watch. He was at most nine years old, took the watch apart, created a new plastic case for the clockwork using the simplest of means. He covered the lid and back with Perspex so that you could look into it.

Retrospectively, Newson explains how important it was to tackle the expensive object with no respect at all, with the intention of changing it. It was a typical boy’s thing: “I wanted to find out how the mechanics worked.”
In the Australia of his youth, design or aesthetics hardly had any cachet. Dreaming of how things should look was a relevant preoccupation for Newson.

Be optimistic

For Newson, the moon landing was a decisive moment and to this day it is still reflected in his designs.

What is important to him is the context: “I grew up in an age and place in which an optimistic view of the future held sway,” he remembers. Unlike today, the future then was thought of in futuristic terms. Today, the future tends to be considered as uncertain. Or rather it is viewed pessimistically. Possibly this is the more realistic angle, he says. But it is not an insight that influences his designs.

Since the creative mind is formed in childhood, it is “much easier [for designers] of my generation to develop a feel for the imagination.”

In the mechanical age, or so Newson is convinced, this was easier than in the digital world, the rules of which seem inviolable.

Think materialistically

Newson views the materials with which he operates as modules, as materials to play with, to express himself. “I use them to communicate. Like an author who forms sentences from words.”

He believes the basis of all design work is to grasp the materials, to be interested in them. How he approaches them differs from task to task. There are projects “on the interface between sculpture and design” where there are very few restrictions.

But his main task as a designer is, he says, to collaborate with industrial corporations, such as aircraft makers like Airbus and airlines such as Qantas. Briefings set narrow limits, and materials play a subordinate role. “They are closely related to the problem that has to be solved. They should never be used for their own sake.”

What role does the frequent switch between working in furniture design, fashion and jewelry to the technically informed worlds of aircraft, boat and car design, i.e., between one-off and mass-produced items, play for Newson?

“For me design addresses the possibility of creating all these things. I do not discern any essential difference between a mobile phone and a cup. The differences are the materials, scale and function. It’d be boring to claim to design chairs all your life long.”


Fashion is different. “I’m not a fashion designer, but I found it interesting when Dutch clothing manufacturer G-Star asked me whether I wanted to design the one or other collection.” There’s simply no avoiding fashion. “For men like me there is little choice.” A good reason to expand the range. On the evening of the awards ceremony he appears in a bright yellow suit, albeit not one he designed.

“It’s not rocket science,” says Newson, who once designed a spaceplane for the stratosphere for EADS, “but a completely different industry.”

Newson loves the contrast to his other projects, which on average take three years each. “Fashion is very easy and fast.”

He derives vigor from working for the fashion industry. Designers and companies can, moreover, learn much from the sense of urgency that prevails in the fashion industry he suggests.

Raymond Loewy Foundation

Started in Germany in 1991, the Raymond Loewy Foundation was developed with the objectives of promoting the discipline of design internationally and preserving the image and heritage of Raymond Loewy. Further, the Foundation was formed in order to bring design and design issues to the attention of the public.

The Raymond Loewy Foundation makes a substantial contribution to the promotion of good design, and to highlighting the great importance of design for the development of the economy and of society in general.

Over the past decade, the Foundation has become a respected authority on international design and design issues. From its inception, the Raymond Loewy Foundation has been supported and guided by a committee of renowned designers.

Raymond Loewy Foundation: the committee : Prof. Werner Aisslinger (studio aisslinger) / Michael Ballhaus (Director of Photography; winner of the 2001 Lucky Strike Designer Award) / Prof. Wolfgang Laubersheimer (Cologne International School of Design, Department of Production Technologies) / Jürgen Plüss (Brand Consultant, Gütersloh)

Raymond Loewy Foundation: the jury : Head of the jury: Prof. Johann H. Tomforde (Competence & Design-Center for Mobility-Innovations, Böblingen) / Members of the jury: / Prof. Werner Aisslinger (studio aisslinger) / Nils Jockel (Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg) / Prof. Wolfgang Laubersheimer (Cologne International School of Design, Department of Production Technologies) / Jürgen Plüss (Brand Consultant, Gütersloh) / Prof. Joachim Sauter (Universität der Künste Berlin – Digital Media Design; ART+COM, Berlin) / Dr. Angela Schönberger (formerly Director of Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin)

Jury Statement:

The jury of the Raymond Loewy Foundation has chosen to honour the Lucky Strike Designer Award 2011 to Marc Newson, a very successful and globally active all-round designer for industrial products and goods for everyday life.

The cosmopolite Marc Newson has managed to unite efficient lifestyle product design and pioneering concept ideas, as well as prototypes which have been recognised worldwide as a total work of art, in his creative works.

Marc Newson has set an innovative course in furniture and home interior design using combinations of materials which are characterised by their purist elegance and practical textures.

In the realm of transportation design, Marc Newson has created a buzz with the compact car concept 021C for Ford in the USA, private jet interiors, carbon racing bikes, the ASTRIUM space shuttle for EADS, with the yacht brand RIVA, and Airbus A 380 interiors for Qantas Airways, where he has worked as Creative Director for many years.

Also in the area of interior design for restaurants and hotels, in product design for objects of everyday use, and in sportswear design, Marc Newson has provided new impulses again and again with a “design DNA” that has become his trademark.

The 47-year-old Australian has become one of the most highly remunerated creative designers – due to his unique design and communication style as well as the branding of his design.

The designer Marc Newson encourages many young talents to break free from monotonous product design with their own strategies and concepts.

His exemplary achievements – also serving as a model for a new generation of cosmopolitan- and multi-cultural-minded designers – were decisive factors for the jury to honour Marc Newson with the Lucky Strike Designer Award 2011


Marc Newson feels Raymond Loewy influenced him essentially at a symbolic level. “He belonged to a completely different generation,” says Newson.

Loewy lived in an era that considered itself visionary. “My generation viewed the future as futuristic, and that applies even more so to him and his age. Everything he did was related to the future and how we wanted to live in it.”

Designers are now far more focused on the present than the future, he suggests. “There is a great sense of immediacy,” Newson affirms.

Loewy was one of the “founders of the design industry as we know it today. And he was also a marvelously extravagant personality,” he was a lifestyle designer who designed his own cars. In a certain sense he was his own ideal consumer who went through designs with a kind of checklist to establish whether they were compatible with what already existed.

“He had a strong sense of the theatrical, for opulence and luxury. But he was also a very good designer.”

About Raymond Loewy (1893–1986)

The Shell logo. The Greyhound bus. The S-1 locomotive. The Lucky Strike package. The Coldspot refrigerator. The Studebaker Avanti. These and many other modern design icons were all created by Raymond Loewy, “the father of industrial design.”

Arguably one of the most influential designers of the 20th century, Loewy has been called the “man who shaped America.”

He left his mark countless times on everyday culture from household products, to transportation to corporate identity. Loewy was one of the first designers to understand the link between design and the economy.

He expressed this connection by stating: “Between two products equal in price, function, and quality, the better looking will outsell the other.”

Raymond Loewy was a brilliant designer and, without doubt, the most versatile ambassador of this discipline, became a design legend in his own lifetime. He was the most influential protagonist of industrial design that North America has ever known and has had a significant impact on the tastes and lifestyles of several generations. Loewy’s design philosophy still has an influence on the industrial design world today.

Between 1925 and 1980, he had a decisive impact on the everyday American culture. Loewy, whose trademark was streamlined design, gave the ”American way of life” its own identity.

Loewy created the trademarks of this century’s technical progress. For example, the Shell logo, the Coca Cola bottle, the Exxon and BP symbols all carry his signature.

Raymond Loewy also designed the packet of the famous American cigarette brand, ”Lucky Strike” and this is the one that is still used today.

In 1941 George Washington Hill, the manager and creative brains behind the American Tobacco Company, assigned Loewy the task of designing a new packet for Lucky Strike. At that time the Lucky packet was still green and the famous round brand symbol, the unmistakable ”bull’s eye” was only visible on one side of the packet.

Loewy surprised and convinced his client with a simple but brilliant stroke of genius. He changed the green to white and put the ”bull’s eye” on both sides of the packet. This meant that the front and back had the same design and the trademark was always visible. No matter how the packet was placed, the symbol could always be seen and recognized.

For Loewy it was not design alone that was definitive. He believed that the job of a designer was more complex than that. He investigated the market as well as inquiring into the wishes and needs of the customer. In addition to design, he gave equal rights to the requirements for user friendliness, ease of use, production costs and retail price.

”He streamlines the sales curves” wrote the American news journal ”Time” in 1949, following his streamline design. ”Design Management” and ”Design Consulting” had already become a major component of his philosophy in the forties.

When in 1953 his autobiography was launched in Germany with the title ”Never leave well enough alone” it became a best-seller. This caused news journals such as ”Time” and ”Spiegel” to devote a title story to Raymond Loewy and his ”campaign against bad taste”.

Loewy, whose streamline styling advanced to become the consumer drive behind the Western world, described himself as an ”apostle of simplicity and restraint”. Yet at the same time he self-assuredly said ”I can say of myself that I have made the mundane side of the 20th century more beautiful”.

Loewry’s principle of creating beauty through function and simplicity is still in tune with the requirements of industrial production today.

His work still influences designer and consumer decisions.

Raymond Loewy redesigned the coke bottle in the 50s or 60s with swoopy, curved ridges and raised letters

The Lucky Strike Junior Designer Award

With the Lucky Strike Junior Designer Award the Raymond Loewy Foundation is fostering the new generation of designers in Germany since 1992.

The prize for young talents went this year to Felix Krinke from Aachen and was the first time awarded along with the main prize. With this award that comes with 12,000 Euros, the Foundation significantly contributes to design training.

The Foundation’s continuous efforts contribute to raising the performance and quality levels at German design universities, support transparency of design training and develop guidelines for university design courses that bring results.

Business and industry alike consider receiving an award as part of the Lucky Strike Junior Designer Award a ticket to the design profession. The award provides the new generation of designers a public forum to build networks in the design industry. This ensures the recognition of the broad as well as the industry-specific public.

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