Universe Publishing, New York
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Marc Newson is an Australian-born product designer who now works mainly in Paris and London. His reputation has increased considerably in recent years, but it was already clear at the time the book was commissioned that he was a rising star in the design world, a dozen years younger than Philippe Starck and his generation. The book was forms part of a series acting as an introduction to the designer or architect and his or her work. I had already written two other titles in the series, on Jean Nouvel (1999) and Philippe Starck (2000). A conventional monograph contains an opening essay followed by a chronology of the work. My feeling was that this would not engage the student market, and so the book is more linked by theme, looking at groups of work. It also relies heavily on the use of illustration. There are two challenges in this kind of writing: one is around the subject, the other around the reader. The problem with the subject is that famous designers have been interviewed often, and have most of their answers off pat: while such a book as this is not a study of the "real" Newson, it is necessary to find a technique for discussing the subject that is less superficial than a magazine interview. This was attempted by looking in particular at the cultural differences in Newson’s background as compared to his European contemporaries. The problem with the eventual reader is that in a highly illustrated book the author needs also to be the art director, planning and placing the illustrations at the same time as developing the text. This book (and earlier ones in the series) was an opportunity to revisit the format of a classical monograph, and to reconsider it in terms of a specific audience.