Published in: August 2010 Features > Marc the Maker (Page 1 / 2)

Marc the Maker

From chairs and cabin interiors to cars, Australian-born Marc Newson has designed them all. The influential and prolific industrial designer tells us why such creativity is just a job to him

As a child growing up in Sydney, Marc Newson enjoyed tinkering with the tools in his grandfather's workshop "to make stuff... I was trying to make everything I could. I can remember, in my teenage years, thinking what I would like to do, and this is it—to make things. I'm not sure I knew it was design, but that's just definition, really." One of his earliest obsessions was building bicycles—surely a result of his passion for cycling, which he does not have much time for these days.

These days, for Newson, are jet-setting ones as he travels from his professional base in London, to anywhere a client brief takes him. His latest destination is the Italian Riviera, where he is just in the final stages of completing a boat for an Italian company.

Newson co-founded and owns his own watch company, Ikepod, that produces modern, design-focussed watches based on traditional values of watch-making

It is also why he's landed in Singapore for a super-fast overnight stop to introduce his most recently completed project—a sparkling and sensual hourglass, a limited edition of 30 pieces that can be admired at L'Atelier by The Hour Glass, at ION Orchard.

Making Time

Deceptively simple, this 60-minute timer (above) encased in a single piece of borosilicate glass (a type of glass highly resistant to thermal shock), appears to be no major departure from its classic predecessors. In its proportions though is that telling "biomorphism" signature of organic flowing lines and lightness that characterizes much of Newson's work.

As precise and accurate in its construction as any luxury timepiece, every iota of material used to make this hourglass is meticulously calculated to track the passage of time consistently. This includes every single one of the 21 million gold-plated nanoballs functioning as the sands of time in this sculptural tribute to horology. Of course it also includes the 0.035mm aperture between the two halves of the hourglass that functions to regulate the passage of the nanoballs.

Newson with his limited edition hourglass

But an hourglass designed to commemorate the 30th anniversary of The Hour Glass seems almost a little too easy for one of the most celebrated design-driven minds of the 21st century. The fact that Newson co-founded and owns his own watch company, Ikepod, whose watches retail at The Hour Glass in Singapore, makes one wonder if Newson might have tried a different approach. Ikepod produces modern, design-focused wristwatches based on traditional values of watch-making.

"To be honest, it was already conceived as an idea to do an hourglass, and then the opportunity arose to do it in conjunction with The Hour Glass," says Newson. Indeed, that original hourglass was conceived with silver nanoballs and emerged as a prototype that was actually shown but never truly manufactured for retail. The anniversary edition for The Hour Glass, limited to 30 pieces, is the final product.