Ford C21

Transport, Gagosian Gallery and Marc Newson.

Last year I posted a Design Friday article about Marc Newson’s Ford C21 concept car designed in 1999. In that post I talked about Newson’s prolific gift for design and his attention to detail with form, and materials. It is this attention to detail, and his amazing gift for design that has lifted him to the top of the design world and placed him in a group of great masters. Gagosian Gallery in New York has recognized this talent and has opened a show entitled “Transport” which features not only the C21, but a number of items Newson has designed specifically for the transportation industry.

As a kid obsessed with designing and making things, post-war Italian design was a huge source of inspiration. I was amazed by the seamless ability of designers and industry to produce every conceivable type of industrial product, from furniture to automobiles. My own career has undoubtedly been influenced by the Italians’ impact on so many areas of design.

–Marc Newson

The show will premiere Aquariva , Newson’s reinterpretation of the famous leisure speedboats produced by the iconic Italian boatmaker Riva. Newson brings contemporary styling to Aquariva and draws from its predecessor updating the glamorous lines of the 1960s, the Aquarama. Newson has infused the classic model with his streamlined and forward-looking style using ideas imported from his innovative work in automotive and aerospace design.

As an industrial designer, Newson approaches design as an experimental exercise in extreme structure and advanced technologies, combined with a highly tactile and exacting exploration of materials, processes, and skills. His unique approach to design has a broad and diverse range from concept jets and cars to watches, footwear, jewelry, restaurants, and aircraft interiors. In a world where the distinctions between art and design are becoming increasingly blurred Newson is a trailblazer, having pursued parallel activities in exclusive and mass production for more than twenty years.

Photos by Rob McKeever

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Separated at Birth, I-Sit vs Papa Bear.

This morning when I was going through my RSS feeds of daily inspirations, I came across a piece about a new chair designed by “Design Concern” and manufactured by Magnus Olesen. The new “I-Sit” chair is really nice looking, but I said to myself, “What does this remind me of?” and then it hit me. Hans Wegner’s iconic “Papa Bear Chair and Ottoman from 1951.

The new I-Sit chair was designed with a different goal in mind according to the site. The criteria for the I-Sit was, “a project about user-driven innovation and methods to develop well-functioning furniture where you can sit and rest – focusing on the user.” As opposed to Wegner’s vision of “Setting the gold standard for general comfort, and beautiful design with its characteristically playful organic design.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I think the I-Sit chair is stunning. There are elements of it that remind me of Marc Newson’s design work for the Ford C21 concept car, and it definitely draws inspiration from Hans Wegner’s Papa Bear chair. The I-sit has wonderful lines, and from what I can tell it adds another level of comfort by allowing the person sitting in it to recline the chair. The chair is  built up around a pressure moulded shell with slim legs of steel which give the design a both light and characteristic expression. The I-sit is the winner of a prestigious Red Dot Design Award, and is so deserving. It is a beautiful chair in its own right.

The thing is, I keep looking at that Hans Wegner chair, and thinking I’d rather own it.