Marc Newson - Design New York Wednesday, December 9, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie kreo, Paris
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2004

  • Literature

    L. Neri, et al., Marc Newson Works, Paris, 2012, p. 110

  • Catalogue Essay

    Australian industrial designer Marc Newson’s entire body of work can be characterized by relentless and often groundbreaking experimentations with various materials, processes, and techniques. The present Orgone Chop Top coffee table is no exception.

    Newson began his Orgone works as a continuation of his explorations into the material possibilities of aluminum furniture that he began with his iconic Lockheed Lounge. The Orgone pieces varied in their object type and form, but they share a similar visual language, specifically an hourglass motif. The name “Orgone” comes from the early-twentieth century doctor and psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich’s concept to describe certain esoteric energies in the world. Newson's works seem to focus more on technical and manufacturing feats rather than a conceptual or philosophical exercise, however.

    When looking at the present coffee table, it brings to mind the streamlined designs of cars and trains in the 1930s. This influence is hardly a secret, as Newson has remained fascinated with not only the aesthetics of cars but also their manufacture throughout his life. The title “Chop Top” also refers to the act of transforming a car into a convertible by sawing the top off. In Newson’s Chop Top versions of his Orgone works, he “cuts” the tabletop in half and places glass on the top so that one can see the interior of the table and also to make the table more durable and practical.

    The aluminum and enameled surfaces of the table take on an almost life-like sense of motion, with its ductile surfaces and curvilinear edges. The polished aluminum exterior is sleek and curvaceous along the edges of the table's base but also in the hourglass motif seen in the shape of the tabletop. Just like the polished aluminum exterior of the table, the saturated pop of orange in the table’s interior is shiny and sleek. Four holes in the table’s interior—what look like vortexes—form the coffee table’s legs. This aspect of the design is similar to many of Newson’s works that play with dimensionality, revealing voids and centers. In Newson's words, these exposed cores are “a good way of revealing some high-quality manufacturing!”

Property from an Important American Collection


"Orgone Chop Top" coffee table

designed 1990, produced 2004
Polished aluminum, painted aluminum, glass.
13 3/8 x 63 x 28 in. (34 x 160 x 71.1 cm)
Produced by POD Edition, London. Number 3 from the edition of 8 plus 2 artist's proofs and 2 prototypes. Underside impressed MARC NEWSON/POD/POD EDITION, 3 / 8 and 90—04.

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $189,000

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New York Auction 9 December 2020