Marc Newson talks personal taste – Part One

Marc Newson’s award-winning projects – many of which are now in major museum collections – include the limited-edition Riva Aquariva speedboat, as well as furniture, aircraft cabins and cars

Marc Newson
Marc Newson | Image: Richard Grassie

My personal style signifier is a pair of Pointer Brand hickory-stripe overalls or jeans. I’m a big fan of American workwear and these trousers are sort of my default. That, and my signature stubble. Pointer Brand jeans, from $55;

A 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Electron Atlantic Coupe
A 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Electron Atlantic Coupe | Image: © Car Culture/Corbis

The last thing I bought and loved was a watercolour by Edward Lear, the 19th-century painter and author of The Owl and the Pussycat. He travelled extensively around the Middle East and also visited Ithaca, where we have a summer home. He painted this particular picture on the island, so it’s very special to me.


The thing I’m eyeing next is a vintage sports car or scooter. I’d love a Bugatti or a Rumi motor scooter as they’re so beautifully designed. I’ve also been looking at a Knarr – a type of Danish long-keeled sailboat from the 1940s that is very simple and traditional.

Glen Spean in the Scottish Highlands
Glen Spean in the Scottish Highlands | Image: Getty Images

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Scottish Highlands, near to Inverness. A group of friends and I stayed at a lodge where we spent days hunting, enjoyed big meals and celebrated a birthday – all in arctic conditions. It’s a special part of the world and particularly dramatic in winter. I also recently went to Doha, Qatar, and, while I wouldn’t necessarily run back, I found it exotic and interesting – especially the desert.

Rockpool Bar+Grill in Sydney
Rockpool Bar+Grill in Sydney | Image: Earl Carter

The last meal that truly impressed me was at the River Café, where they serve the best Italian food outside of Italy. I was amazed by how good it still is – the branzino, the tagliatelle pasta with tomatoes and ricotta, and the atmosphere were all excellent. On my recent visit, we arrived by boat and that made the whole experience even more special. Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, London W6 (020-7386 4200;

What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg
What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a 15-litre canister of fresh-pressed olive oil made on our land in Ithaca. It’s a lovely reminder of summer and we use it every day. I also enjoy the teas I’ve brought back from trips, including hojicha from the Ippodo Tearoom in Kyoto. Teramachi-dori Nijo, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-0915 (+8175-211 3421;

Hojicha tea
Hojicha tea

The last music I downloaded was the Andrews Sisters’ Greatest Hits of the 20th Century. I also purchased In Session by Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb. I think Campbell is a misunderstood genius.


The books on my bedside table are What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg and The Match King by Frank Partnoy. The first is a rags-to-riches story set in New York’s Lower East Side, while The Match King explores the fortunes – and forgeries – of the financial genius Ivar Kreuger. Both were given to me by my publisher and friend Benedikt Taschen.

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a tuxedo made for me by my tailor, A Caraceni, in Milan. I was also given a small credit-card holder in light-green shagreen by the designer Azzedine Alaïa. A Caraceni, Via Fatebenefratelli 16, 20121 Milan (+3902-655 1972;

The people I rely on for personal grooming and wellbeing are Richard Stepney at Fourth Floor for haircuts when I’m in London. In Ithaca, I love the yoga retreat Itha 108, which is run by my friend Ingrid Gottschalk and overlooks the sea. Fourth Floor, 4 Northington Street, London WC1 (020-7405 6011; Itha 108, Agios Ioannis, Ithaca 28301 (+30698-091 8604;

If I didn’t live in London, the city I’d live in is Sydney. I especially like Bronte Beach for the vibe, surfing and cafés. And I love the restaurants – particularly Rockpool Bar+Grill, with its art-deco setting and simply grilled meat and fish. 66 Hunter Street, Sydney NSW 2000 (+612-8078 1900;

My favourite websites are Anamera and Classic Cars for looking at vintage Aston Martins, Ferraris and Lamborghinis. I’m a complete Luddite and, as I’m already preoccupied with my job, I tend not to look at contemporary design or architecture blogs.

See also