Marc Newson is Australia's most successful contemporary designer. Since graduating in jewellery and sculpture from Sydney College of the Arts in 1984 he has worked in Japan, Italy and France and currently runs a high profile international practice in London. During his 15-year career he has designed furniture, lighting, interiors, 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. He is perhaps best known for his aluminium 'Lockheed Lounge' of 1986.
The Powerhouse Museum has supported Newson since early in his career, acquiring one of his first chairs, the 'Marc 1'in 1985, and commissioning the 'Embryo' chair in 1988. The 'Orgone' lounge was designed the following year and further developed the 'hourglass' shape of the 'Embryo'. The term 'orgone' was adapted from the eccentric orgone energy theories of 1940s scientist Wilhelm Reich. The flattened, moulded 'chaise-longue' form of the 'Orgone' was also inspired by the shape and construction techniques of surfboards. The shape has since become a signature of Newson's work and his interest in and use of plastics technology has expanded considerably throughout the 1990s. The prototype 'Orgone' was made by Newson's own company Pod and the design was produced initially by the Tokyo-based company Idee.
The 'Orgone' thus represents an important milestone in Newson's career, a watershed between his Sydney and international practices. That the lounge is manufactured today by the big Italian company Cappellini also testifies to its continuing status as a significant example of international 20th century design. The lounge complements and enhances the Museum's extensive holdings of Newson's work which includes furniture, lighting, watches, homewares, prototypes and a range of sketches and drawings of work of the period 1985-1989. A drawing for a version of this design can be seen at 90/724-6/18 in the Museum's collection.