Why Has Apple Added Marc Newson To Its Stable of New Talent?

Written by

Remember the Dish Doctor Dishrack, designed for Magis in 1997 back when plastic was still fantastic (before we knew about entire islands of the stuff ruining marine life).

It is one of many memorable designs by Australian designer Marc Newson, who has been hired to join the Apple design team, by friend and sometime collaborator Jonathan Ive, chief of design at the company.

Of all the earth-shattering news delivered by Apple this week, this was perhaps the most intriguing. What exactly will Newson, one of the world’s most famous industrial designers whose custom pieces have sold at art world prices, bring to table?

Above, one of his three Lockheed Lounge chairs, made of fiberglass and riveted sheet aluminum, was sold at auction by Phillips de Pury in London for 1.1 million pounds, making it by far the most expensive contemporary design object, says the Vitra Design Museum, which owns one.

Will Apple products become even more curvy if Newson applies his trademark biomorphism? Is he being tapped for his experience designing watches (Ikepod Solaris watch, below)?


DnA posed the question to Rose Apodaca, design writer, curator and co-owner of A+R, which has stocked Newson’s work in the past. She says:

“Marc Newson has deftly navigated the worlds of fashion and tech, contributing to his rock star status outside the design world. There’s no doubt that he is one of the top designers of this generation. But to me this hire is as much about his talent as it is his high-profile status. It’s tantamount to Apple tapping Karl Lagerfeld, and I mean this in all seriousness. Lagerfeld is stickler for detail, innovation—and making his mark in the culture, popular and elite.

pentaxricohk01-1We introduced Newson’s collaboration with Pentax (above) in North America, and the camera received considerable press. But it also turned out to have its limits. It was prettier to look at than use. Still it was surprisingly discontinued within a year. That said, I kept one in white, and I still love toting it—as much because of the quality of the photos as a fashion accessory.


Check out The Guardian’s 10 best designs by Newson. Read Paul Goldberger’s take on Newson and Ive in this Vanity Fair article (photo courtesy VF, above).