Alessi, Italy, 1999
Marc Newson was born in 1963 in Sydney, Australia. He graduated from the Sydney College of the Arts in sculpture and jewellery in 1984. He dabbled in furniture design while there and was given a grant from the Australian Crafts Council. He staged an exhibition featuring the Lockheed Lounge (see below) at the Roslyn Oxley Gallery in Sydney. In 1997, Newson moved to London, where he set up Marc Newson Ltd. as a studio. He has designed aircraft interiors for Qantas, shoes for Nike, and luggage for Samsonite. In April 2005, he was named as one of Time magazine's Top 100 most influential people in the world. Plus, he digs all things space, like rockets. Awesome.
Newson has won six Good Design Awards from the Chicago Atheneum. His designs are present in most major permanent museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, London's Design Museum, Musée national d'Art moderne - Centre Georges Pompidou and the Vitra Design Museum. Alessi released Marc Newson’s smooth and bulbous Titan soap dish in 1999 in three colors: yellow, red, and blue. It is made of thermoplastic resin. While the Titan has been discontinued for quite some time, it is still in stock from several retailers in the $30 range in red and blue, but I wasn’t able to find yellow.
If you think $30 for a soap dish is a lot, consider that in 2006, his 20-year-old Lockheed Lounge, a curvaceous divan made from aluminum, sold for $968,000 at Sotheby's in New York. This set a record for the highest price paid in history for furniture by a living designer. And that was in 2006. Check the prices realized lately.
The stunning curves of Newson’s Lockheed Lounge (left). One of the 10 made was used in the 1993 video for Madonna’s “Rain” (right).
You may not be able to sit in it, but I certainly see some similar curves in the soap dish. It is 3.5 cm in height, 12.5 cm in length, and 10.4 mm in depth.
Here is the hard to capture marking on the underside of the dish:
I have a blue one on the counter next to my kitchen sink (left) and a yellow one in the bathroom (right). That’s a rock, not soap on the yellow one, plucked from the beaches of Cape Cod.
Designed around the same time and of equal importance to my kitchen is the 1998 Dish Doctor dish drying rack Newson made for Magis out of polypropylene. We’ll be seeing that in a future post!
Jana, R. (2006, December). Marc Newson and the art of design. Retrieved February 2, 2009, from BusinessWeek Web site: http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/dec2006/id20061214_268221.htm