What bothers industrial designer Marc Newson? “Ninety-nine percent of all cars, ninety-nine percent of all cell phones, and ninety-nine percent of all sneakers.” When journalist Chip Brown asked him if he felt assaulted by mediocrity, his answer “I’m constantly reminded of the opportunity that exists to improve designs.” This is something we talk about often in our studio, so I found myself nodding my head in agreement. How is it that the discipline of design has come so far, yet so many products today are so average, if not downright bad? A company like Apple has proven that great design sells. Yet I still can’t find a coffee maker that functions properly. You’d think that particular design problem would have been solved successfully years ago.
I was unfamiliar with Marc Newson until reading a recent article in the New York Times Magazine (January 29, 2012). A native Australian now living in London, he has created everything from furniture and household objects, to bicycles and cars, to commercial aircraft and yachts. He is one of those rare designers that seems to imbue each new piece with a personality all its own, using nothing more exotic than common materials, bold colors, and simple shapes. His fans include Apple’s chief designer Jonathan Ive and Reed Krakoff, creative director of Coach, who suggests “To me, Marc is like the Picasso of design.” Count me among Marc’s admirers as well, his product designs are fantastic. To see more of his firm’s work, like the Trek Art Bike from 2009, visit marc-newson.