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Marc Newson’s Lockheed Lounge
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Marc Newson’s Lockheed Lounge

by Design SyncMay 2, 2015

The famous Lockheed Lounges design by Australian Marc Newson has recently been sold at auction for $4.69 million in London on the Tuesday, 28th April 2015. It once again sets itself as the most expensive lounge furniture by a living artist. The previous record was his first Lockheed Lounge prototype which had sold for about £1.4 million.

So where and how did this Lockheed Lounge made its way to become an iconic design? Let’s begin by taking a closer look at its origin. The first prototype was built in 1985 and was named LC1 after LeCorbusier’s LC4 Chaise Lounge, which Marc Newson’s was inspired by a seating reclaimer represented in a reproduction painting of Juliette Reclaimer 1800 portrait by French painter Jacque-Louis David. With it’s solid look, I can imagine that it would possibly be uncomfortable though this is my hunch guess since with a price tag, it’s rare to have anyone siting on it. Though as Marc Newson has comment from a BBC documentary it was never intended for comfort but more on the line of sculpture furniture piece. The unique lounge is made from aluminum and fiberglass chaise, the idea derive from a fluid metallic form representing a globule of mercury like form. I classify it as a timeless piece of creative design. By that I mean it looks retro with the riveted metal sheets plated together and yet gives a sense of futuristic element because of its shape and form. A past future design still represent in our modern presence and most likely in the future years to come.

Great design comes with a labour of love, and as such the original Lockheed Lounge was hand crafted by Newson in his garden at the back of the Basecraft workshop in Sydney share by a friend. Using a piece of foam the shape was sculpted similar to how a surfboard is made. From there he modeled the fiberglass core of the actual chair to make the base and followed by a single sheet of aluminum. A few months of hammering and hundred’s of aluminum panels from a fiberglass mould he personally customised.

Making its debut at the “Seating for Six” exhibition at Roslyn Oxely9 Gallery in June 1986 and was subsequently purchased for about $3000 USD by the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide where it is currently on exhibit. Marc Newson’s lounge soon became popular from photographs making it’s appearance in magazines all over the world setting it as one of the most iconic pieces of modern furniture.

However Newson was not entirely satisfied with the backrest area so he kept working on it refining it over and over from 1986 till 1988 with 4 artist’s proofs and one prototype chair. With this new refinement he rename the lounge after an American aircraft company Lockheed.

The final revision of the Lockheed lounge was produced in a limited edition of 10 during the 1988 to 1990 from Marc Newson’s established design company POD. Only the first piece of this limited edition was handcrafted by himself as he stated that it was so much work and promised himself not to do it again. Hence for the very reason only 10 were made because it was physically impossible for him to do any more. Echard Reissig was assigned to produce the other nine.

This is one great success story of a young designer forming his own journey to become a leading designer in the modern time. Much of Marc Newson’s success wasn’t about claiming the highest price tag for a furniture item, but more about the passion and desire to create a wonderful piece of design. As you can see the result is that he has engrave his name as one of the lending designers in the modern century. Now that you can not put a price on. With the labour of love and passion it’s very much possible to create excellent design. Somewhere, someone out there is creating something amazing and this could be you.

Interested to learn more about the Lockheed Lounge and Marc Newson himself, watch the BBC documentary below and get inspired to become a true geek designer.

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