Interview: Marc Newson

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

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

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.


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