Marc Newson puts a high-tech twist on an old-world timer.
By Laurie Kahle, August 09, 2011
Marc Newson’s artistic oeuvre spans from furniture to cars to jets, but the visionary Australian designer has a particular fascination with time. His Ikepod watch collection stands apart for its organic forms, his sculptural Baccarat crystal-encased Atmos clocks for Jaeger-LeCoultre have revitalized a Deco-era technical wonder, and now he redefines the medieval hourglass with unabashed 21st-century sex appeal. Instead of using Baccarat, Newson commissioned an artisan glass blower in Basel, Switzerland, to form the hourglasses out of borosilicate, a high-tech durable glass used in labs and the aerospace industry. Newson then replaced the sand with millions of stainless steel nanoballs available in four shades. While The Hourglass’ materials are high-tech, the engineering is a refreshingly basic exercise in physics. But timekeeping still has its place—the small version runs for 10 minutes, while the larger tracks an hour. It all depends on how much time you have to waste, as once you flip The Hourglass, you’re sure to be transfixed until the final tiny ball falls.