Australian Marc Newson has been described as the most influential designer of his generation. While having recently joined Apple as senior vice president of design under Jonathan Ive, he already has 30 years of experience creating everything from furniture and household objects to bicycles, cars, surfboards, aircraft, yachts, airport lounges, clothes, and sculptures. Here we take a look at just some of his wackiest, most iconic and most irresistible designs.
The MNO1 Extravaganza
Designed in 1999, Newson used “superplastic aluminum” to create the bike’s sleek, light, and strong curves (see pic above), while its 14 gears, front suspension, and hydraulic disc brakes made it revolutionary for the turn of century.
For this—one of 10 surfboards machined from 10 kilograms of hollow nickel, the material usually used for helicopter rotor blades—Newson teamed up with shaper Dick Brewer to make a board for big-wave surfer Garrett McNamara back in 2007. McNamara apparently lost the board in a wipeout, but recovered it later, and it is now on display at the Gagosian Gallery in New York. At a recent Sotheby’s auction, one of the boards sold for $200,000.
The Ford 021C
This was a concept car first shown to the public at the 1999 Tokyo Car Show. The retro 1950s-inspired four-door sedan, with a slide-out trunk, four interior seats that swiveled on pedestals, and a jewel-like dashboard, was never meant for production, but became a design classic.
The Body Jet
Taking his cues from science-fiction TV shows, Newson imagined a vehicle that could bring jet-pack travel to the masses. Commissioned by a French aerospace company, it featured a carbon fiber yellow-and-black body with a single large engine providing thrust and enough fuel capacity for approximately 45 minutes of airtime.
A reinterpretation of the Aquariva boat design that incorporates anodized aluminum and a textile-based laminate with the appearance of wood, 22 boats were made for Riva, the iconic Italian boat-maker established in 1842. Each speedboat’s asking price was a cool $1.5 million.
The Leica M for (RED)
Newson collaborated with Ive to create a unique Leica digital rangefinder camera. It featured a laser-machined anodized aluminum enclosure, a full-frame CMOS sensor, and a high-performance processor. It sold for $1.8 million at the RED Auction in 2013, making it the world’s most expensive digital camera.
The Zvezdochka Sneakers
Newson was inspired by the early astronauts’ footwear and named these, first released in 2004, after a dog sent into space by Russia aboard “Sputnik 10” in 1961. In 2014 the trainers were re-released with Mark Parker, CEO of Nike, saying, “We knew we had broken new ground: a shoe with four interchangeable parts. It was such a simplified process and led to new exploration in how products are made and the potential for customization.”
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