"As a designer, I create objects as real, physical applications of creative processes," says London-based industrial designer Marc Newson. Revered for his impactful design practice, Newson, through his works, explores material mediums, unique techniques, and elaborate contextual references that often go beyond the sheer functionality of objects. For his first solo exhibition in Athens, Greece, the product designer pays homage to the nation’s traditional colours with furniture designed in shades of blue and white. He also plays on the lines of cultural craftsmanship by using pieces fabricated in marble, married to classical materials through ancient and advanced technologies. The exhibition began on 25 October 2022 and will be on display until 7 January 2023 at the Gagosian Gallery’s Athens outpost.
“Greece and Greek culture have always been close to my heart, and it’s an honour to share these works in Athens,” expresses Newson. Whitewashed dome houses overlooking the endless Aegean Sea are certainly a postcard-worthy picture; courtesy of the Greek islands. The tranquil, sea-locked islands have inspired many designers with their rich waterscapes, Greek architecture, and cultural heritage. Newson, too, clubs different elements with references from Greek art and design history to create an exciting new collection.
The Australian furniture designer showcases a new chair and lounge made with the ancient decorative arts technique Cloisonné, which involves creating designs on the metal bodies of vessels or furniture objects using wires, then layering them with coloured glass paste or enamel. The copper bodies of Newson's new cloisonné chair and lounge are adorned in laborious circular or molecular 'orgon' motifs. He uses the technique to create blue-white furniture design, a nod to his roots as a silversmith and jewellery designer. In the past, decorative art has been applied to smaller objects, however, Newson's application to a large object required the development of a new fabrication technique.
The designer pushes the conceptual boundaries further with his Extruded chairs, consoles, and tables that he carves using single slabs of white Carrara and grey Bardiglio marble. Newson initially conceived the chairs as two-dimensional curved forms that he later perfectly extruded into three dimensions, creating a chair design that is bold, dynamic, and flawless. Marble tables that were crafted by a lathe from a single slab of marble complete the look. The Extruded Ribbon Console (2022), a new form created in the distinctive azure tones of Azul Macaubas stone, extends from these pieces.
Further expressing Greece and its soothing national colours and craft techniques, Newson also presents his cast glass and Murrina works in the form of the Blue Glass table and chair. Both pieces are exquisitely designed in vivid shades of blue, displaying the brilliant-coloured forms of solid glass. These blue glass tops are anchored down with lower halves in uncolored glass as a perfect materialisation of a waterscape hourglass.In addition, the Murrina White and Blue Table incorporates a large-scale adaptation of the cloisonné technique, which adds a touch of history and contemporaneity to the design collection.
The display also includes surfboards made of blue and uncoloured aluminium, which were prototypes created for surfer Garrett McNamara. The sculptural Blue Hourglass (2022), created in Basel, augments the exhibition's mediation of the historical past and innovative thinking. In collaboration with Swiss watchmaker De Bethune, thousands of minuscule blue steel nanoballs are precisely engineered and handblown from borosilicate glass in a special heat treatment process.
Newson creates objects that are both of the moment and timeless with his elegant and fearless designs that resonate through time. Born in Sydney, Australia he currently resides in London. With an expansive display of his work at the Design Museum, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Centre Pompidou, and Paris among others, the designer is globally recognised for his exceptional design thinking and creation.
Marc Newson's solo exhibition began on 25 October 2022 and will be on display until 7 January 2023 at the Gagosian Gallery, Athens