A Fascination with Scale and Materiality Informs the Star Designer’s Home
With Salone de Mobile in Milan kicking off this week and bringing together design world VIPs, we visit the London home of one of its favorite sons, Marc Newson, in today’s second installment of our “In Residence” series, helmed by Matthew Donaldson. A space-age aesthetic dominates at casa Newson, an unlikely look for a period building but one entirely reflective of the superstar designer’s streamlined visual language. The futuristic interior gives way to mock-Victorian details such as a wood-paneled library, one of several flourishes authored by Newson’s wife, fashion stylist Charlotte Stockdale. In Australian-born Newson’s most celebrated work—cabins for Qantas Airways and the Ford O21C concept car, for example—his finely honed eye for materiality reigns supreme; here that is reflected in the marble that lines his bathroom, the massive wall of river rocks from Nova Scotia (a “big deal” to achieve, he confesses) and the composite linen that forms his giant dining table. His passion for metal is betrayed by a small display of unusual knives in the library: “I trained as a jeweler and a silversmith,” he explains. “I love the way metal is worked, and certain techniques and processes are best illustrated in objects like knives, which are, essentially, tools. They display an incredible level of ingenuity and skill.” After Taschen’s recent publication of his complete catalog of designs, Marc Newson. Works, Newson’s next projects will be a private jet interior for a member of the Qatar royal family and a fountain pen for Hermès. “What holds my attention is variety,” says the consummate aesthete.
The Renowned Designer and Artist Shows Us Around His St. Moritz Hideaway
Rolf Sachs hurtles down a toboggan run made from natural ice and invites us into his high art-bedecked Swiss mountain retreat in the first installment of our new film series, In Residence. Directed by Matthew Donaldson, today’s short tells the story of the building that was originally erected for the 1928 Winter Olympics, when officials and VIPs filled stands on the roof and a band played national anthems from the balcony. Sachs rescued the structure from dereliction, restored it to its former glory and brought in a period-relevant collection of design. “It is very clearly a Bauhaus building, a functional building. There are no decorative aspects,” says Sachs, who has paired the utilitarian architecture with pieces from Dutch furniture maker Gerrit Rietveld and the Suprematist movement. Sachs is at the heart of St. Moritz life. “I’m very involved with everything in town. The locals accept me as a local,” says the 57-year-old designer, a committee member of many clubs, including the St. Moritz Tobogganing Club that maintains the town’s famous Cresta Run. His connection to the Engadine region was the subject of his recent exhibition Herzschuss in St. Moritz, in which he poetically reinterpreted some of the familiar motifs of the region. “Having been brought up here I understand all of the materials, the originality of this place,” he says. “One aspect that is especially fascinating is the light. It is crystal clear, making it look like the horizon has been cut out with scissors.”
The Filmmaker-Artist’s Unique Take on His Laser-Fueled Robo-Sex Ballet
From his formative years sculpting alien heads to his recent "jaqapparatus 1" robotic performance-art installation, seminal music video director-turned-artist Chris Cunningham retraces his varied and critically acclaimed career in this personal, self-directed short. One of an elite group of directors alongside Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry and Jonathan Glazer who redefined MTV in the 1990s, Cunningham elevated the pop promo to a burgeoning art form with daring and disturbing music videos for the likes of Aphex Twin, Björk and Madonna. While his peers graduated to the big screen, Cunningham went underground, quit making promos and commercials, and spent the best part of a decade experimenting with fusions of film, music, art and technology that culminated in a string of live audio-visual performances at festivals in Japan and Europe. For "jaqapparatus 1", his first installation unveiled last month at the Audi City London high-tech concept store—a shadowy, sci-fi set involving two laser-firing robots locked in what seemed like a brutal mating ritual-cum-war—Cunningham cast two Talos motion-controlled camera rigs as his anthropomorphized protagonists. “Mounted on the robots heads are powerful lasers which they use to attack, repel and communicate with each other,” explains Cunningham, “a kind of duel, a surreal mating display which sees each machine trying to dominate the other.”