Details: When you're designing a plane, you're designing a system. Does that require a different approach than, say, a watch?
Marc Newson: On a basic level it's about designing tons and tons and tons of watches. But on a organizational level it's more strategic. Often it's not just about design, it's about finding the best solutions. But it's important for designers to be able to put that hat on.
Details: The business hat?
Marc Newson: Yeah, to have some conception of reality! It's not just about doing what you want, when you want, for any kind of budget. I'd love to work like an artist. But design is about compromising and solving problems. It's important to respond to the real world and real issues, to resolve things in a realistic and sustainable way.
Details: You're a professional globe hopper. How do your travel experiences inform your transportation work?
Marc Newson: Enormously. Simply by virtue of that, I feel uniquely qualified to address those problems. I would sit in airplanes and think how horrible everything was. Everyone I know does the same thing. There aren't many people out there who will praise the interior design of airplanes.
Details: Much of your work, whether it's biomorphic furniture or air travel, has the quality of bringing fantasies to life. Do you think of yourself as something of a dream weaver?
Marc Newson: Yes, absolutely. Design should be about the future. If you're working on things that have already been done, I guess you're not a very good designer. I try to imagine what things will be like in 10 or 15 years. It was a little bit like being a little boy and dreaming of becoming an astronaut or a race-car driver.
Details: What will things be like in 10 or 15 years?
Marc Newson: I don't know whether things are going to be round and curvy and biomorphic, or minimal, but it'll be one of those kinds of trends. But technology will be driving our lives even more. Our concepts of scale will be different. Some products will be miniaturized, and many more will have disappeared.
Details: And we'll have commercial space travel, right?
Marc Newson: Yeah, I think we will. Well, actually, I'm not sure. I wonder. We all thought in the early seventies that we'd be going to the moon for our holidays. And it just didn't happen. I wonder how many people really want to go suborbital for three minutes and come back. I'd do it in a heartbeat, for sure, but it's a really hard business model to fathom. I know it is because I designed for it. It's completely uncharted territory.
Details: You have a 3-year-old daughter. Do you think at all about designing the world that she's going to live in?
Marc Newson: I haven't begun to really consider that yet, to be honest—although the older she gets, the more you do start to think about those things, especially with regards to technology. She can already navigate the iPad perfectly. She knows how to turn it on and off, adjust the volume, select her movies, and turn the screen around. It's kind of terrifying, but encouraging at the same time. As she grows up, I think, she will really start to tell me things.
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