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2001/112/1 Chair, 'Embryo', polyurethane / steel / 'bielastico' fabric, designed by Marc Newson, Sydney, made by Cappellini, Italy, 1988-2000. Click to enlarge.

'Embryo' chair by Marc Newson

This chair represents the international success enjoyed by Australian designer Marc Newson. Since graduating from Sydney College of the Arts in 1984, he has worked in Japan, Italy, France and London. He has designed furniture, lighting, interiors, watches, homewares, a bike, a concept car and a jet. He appears regularly in international design journals and his work is represented in collections thoughout the world.

The Powerhouse Museum has supported Newson since early in his career, …


Object No.


Object Statement

Chair, 'Embryo', polyurethane / steel / 'bielastico' fabric, designed by Marc Newson, Sydney, made by Cappellini, Italy, 1988-2000

Physical Description

Chair of curved, rounded 'hourglass' shape made from injection-moulded polyurethane foam on a steel frame and covered in dark blue 'bielastico' fabric. There are three tubular steel legs, one connected to the back and two front legs connected through voids on either side of the chair front to the inner frame.





800 mm


810 mm


890 mm


19 kg



The 'Embryo' chair was designed by Marc Newson for the 1988 Powerhouse Museum exhibition 'Take a Seat'. Sketches for the design are in Newson's sketchbook (object number 90/724-1/1) and various loose drawings. Stylistically, the 'Embryo' is linked to the 'Insect' chair (1986) and the 'Felt' and 'Wicker' chairs of the following two years. The 'hourglass' form of the 'Embryo' became Newson's signature shape and was elaborated in many subsequent designs.

The chair was made by Cappellini in Italy. Since 1988 Embryo chairs have been made by de de ce in Sydney, Idee in Tokyo, and most recently again by Cappellini. This chair was probably manufactured in 2000.


Credit Line

Purchased 2001

Acquisition Date

18 November 2001

Cite this Object


'Embryo' chair by Marc Newson 2023, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 1 June 2023, <>


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