PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Philadelphia Museum of Art
is presenting the first solo museum exhibition in the United States devoted to Marc Newson, one of the worlds most acclaimed contemporary designers. Marc Newson: At Home includes furniture, clothing, and appliances, along with works related to transportation including a concept car and a bicycle. It has been organized and installed as a six-room home, including adult and child bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a garage. The works are lent from collections in Europe, Japan, and the United States as well as from the designer himself. Videos of Newsons drawings, prototypes, and other pieces are also on view. The exhibition is being presented in the Collab Gallery, named for the group of collaborating design professionals that supports modern and contemporary design at the Museum.
Newsons design sensibility, notable for its smooth and flowing linearity, has evolved to embrace a variety of striking styles over the past thirty years, drawing on biomorphic and industrial influences. The living room showcases iconic pieces that demonstrate Newsons innovative use of materials and processes. The limited edition Lockheed Lounge (1988), made of fiberglass and covered with aluminum sheets riveted together, is one of his most recognized works and was featured in Madonnas 1993 music video for Rain. Also included in the living room are his Pod of Drawers (1987), similarly faced with riveted aluminum; the Super Guppy Lamp (1987), inspired by a Japanese street lamp; a marble Voronoi Low Shelf (2007), cut into a pattern based on the diagrams of nineteenth-century Russian mathematician Georgy Voronoi; and a sofa made entirely of nickel.
Newsons kitchen includes appliances, tableware, pots and pans, and even champagne coffrets made for Dom Pérignon, all centered around a mustard-yellow stovetop and oven, topped by a stainless steel hood that the designer created for Smeg. The bright orange and green Dish Doctor Dish Rack (1997) features Newsons signature curves and vibrant colors. Newsons Canteen Table (1997) has been outfitted with in-flight dinnerware designed for Qantas Airways, drinking glasses (1998) made by Iittala glassworks, and stainless steel Strelka Cutlery (2003) made by Alessi.
Visitors of all ages will enjoy the child bedroom, notably furnished with the Embryo Chair (1988). Produced by Cappellini, the three-legged seat of organic forms is made of chromed steel, padded in cushy molded polyurethane foam and covered with a stretchy, synthetic fabric. The modular Bunky Bunk Bed (2010) consists of four molded-plastic pieces that fit together and can be reconfigured as single beds. The bedroom also includes the Rocky Rocking Horse (2012), suggestive of medieval jousting, and a futuristic inflatable toy plane (2007).
Clothing designed by Newson for G-Star, a company with which he has collaborated since 2003, has been hung on his Hangman Clothes Rack (1993) on Hercules Hangers (1997) in the adult bedroom. The room features a Nimrod Chair (2003) resembling a vehicular bucket seat, and Newsons pared-down variation on the Atmos clock, designed in 2008 to celebrate the eightieth anniversary of the Swiss company Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Newsons bathroom fixtures for Caroma include the Wall Hung Invisi II Toilet and Wall Basin (both 2012) with streamlined minimalist shapes and concealed mounting. The bathroom also contains hair appliances designed by Newson for Vidal Sassoon including an aluminum, oblong-shaped hair dryer (2001).
The garage houses his concept car, the O21C (1999) designed for Ford and presented at the Tokyo Auto Show in 1999. Conceived as a simple and affordably stylish urban, eco-friendly vehicle, the car features rear hinged doors, swivel seats, a slide-out trunk, and a push-button, four-speed automatic transmission.
Born in Sydney, Australia, in 1963, Marc Newson developed an early fascination with aviation, rockets, and the futuristic vision of the popular cartoon The Jetsons. Newson graduated from the Sydney College of the Arts in 1984, and was awarded a grant in 1986 from the Craft Council of Australia, leading to his first exhibition featuring the Lockheed Lounge. In 2005, Newson was named one of Time magazines 100 Most Influential People in the World. Since 1997, he has been appointed a Royal Designer for Industry in Great Britain, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sydney, and held adjunct professorships at Sydney College of the Arts and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He was honored as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2011. The artist has been represented in major exhibitions at Fondation Cartier pour lart contemporain, Paris (1995, 2004); Powerhouse Museum, Sydney (2001); the Groninger Museum, Netherlands (2004); Design Museum London (20045); and the Gagosian Galleries in New York (2007, 2010) and London (2008). His clients have included Apple, Canon, Ford, Lanvin, Microsoft, Motorola, Nike, and Vidal Sassoon. He is currently creative director of Qantas Airways, where he redesigned the interiors and fittings of the Airbus fleet.