This week in Design and Technologies we were introduced to the design art world that has been created by the “Urban Spaceman” Marc Newson.
Although Newson is considered one of his generation's "design gods", his style varies from the general industrial designed products of today. He is seen by many as a designer-artist bridge, similar to Ron Arad. Both Newson and Arad broke into the design world with unpolished and unrefined concept designs. Now even the thought that either artist/designer will produce anything as rugged or unfinished is a bit abstract.
Rover Chair by Ron Arad - 1987
Lockheed Lounge by Marc Newson - 1986
Gomli Chair by Ron Arad - 2008 & Extruded Chair by Marc Newson - 2007
From the documentary (Mark Newson, Urban Spaceman), the experimentation with materials seems to have always lead Newson's artistic pieces.
Newson's Lockheed Lounge shows amazing form and rugged craft which adds to the aura of the piece and makes it extremely desirable. There is a sense of awe involved when you step back and ask yourself how much time and effort went into each of the 10 models. This almost rough blacksmith-like manufacturing seems to be in complete contrast to his more recent work.
Lockheed Lounge - 1986
Nowadays, Newson's high-standard polished methods allow room for experimenting with materials. He pushes manufacturing techniques to the limit using obscure organic forms to achieve a similar sense of awe associated with each piece. So what's changed from 1987-2017? As with many designers and businesses, money and reputation make work a lot easier.
Orgone Chair - 1993
Extruded Table- 2007
Bauhaus school of design - "form follows function"
This statement has been used a lot through the 20-21st century defining great design. Newson's range of (semi-affordable) consumer products follows this theory to a certain extent but deviates by experimenting with friendly biomorphic forms. For example, his Dish Doctor perfectly fulfils the function of a dish drainer but uses an organic form to add a touch of character. This form, in my opinion, subtracts from the usefulness of the product by making it unnecessarily large. This product demands attention with its colour and form when typically dish drainers remain more subtle and discrete.
Dish Doctor - 1997
Joseph Joseph dish drainer
Kettle & Toaster - 2015
Rock Door Stop - 1997
What's the difference between design and art? This question arises quite a lot when people talk about Marck Newson. In my eyes, great design has a function and a particular physical use associated with it. Both art and design can be appreciated visually but design differs in the experience and interaction with a product.