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A SEAT TO SLEEP IN
Industrial designer Marc Newson has been busy; in addition to his work creating limited-edition bottles for Dom Pérignon, a racing bike for Lance Armstrong, concept cars for Ford, speed boats for Riva, and the interiors of future space ships, his works have been exhibited from the Groninger in the Netherlands to Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.
How often do you travel?
I travel well over 100 days a year, mostly for business.
How do you decide your destinations?
For pleasure I go to the destinations I know, where I will be with friends and have a great time. I am lucky enough to be very well travelled so by now I absolutely know where I like to be.
You’re a celebrity hotel reviewer for kiwicollection.com; what is it about Kiwi Collection properties you love so much?
There are a great number of hotels in the collection and a large variety across the world - from the old and traditional to the new and ultra modern - so there is an incredible amount of choice.
Do you have a favorite?
I recently stayed in the King George Palace Hotel in Athens which I found to be excellent. They served one of the best breakfasts I have ever had.
How important do you think design is becoming when travelers choose a hotel or even an airline?
I think people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of good design. Personally, I hope they are aware of the aspects of design that really matter; like improving on what went before, simplicity, comfort, efficiency, the utilization of high quality materials and fittings, and excellent service.
When coming up with the concept for Qantas’ SkyBed, what did you feel was lacking in business class seating at the time?
I’ve always suspected that the people who design airline seats probably don’t travel that much, or maybe just when they go on holiday once a year. A lot of designers’ ideas of making an aircraft interior look nice is to make it look like something terrestrial, like their living room. I don’t feel that is an honest approach. One of the most immediate issues for me was a poor appearance; most aircraft interiors look ugly and addressing the basic design from a visual point of view was extremely important.
For myself and the SkyBed project, I wanted that sense of privacy, I wanted the feeling of being concealed in my own cocoon. I was mindful of the fact that people sit on Qantas flights for u to 14 hours at a time, and I think the SkyBed provides the comfort, privacy and sympathetic environment to make the experience of flying relaxing and even something to look forward to. Too many people get off flights only remembering how uncomfortable the seats were.
As a designer, what do you look for when travelling to a new city?
I look at the shapes that surround people and observe the popular culture there.
What’s your recommended city for design fans like yourself?
I wouldn’t call myself a design fan; I can’t abide so called ‘design trends’ or trends of any kind. I am a fan of quality, beauty and efficiency, Tokyo is a city with a lot of these qualities for instance.
Name four things we’ll find in your carry on?
My sketchbook, a pen, an iPad, and a toothbrush.
Where are you off to next?
Paris, Italy then Japan.