Honorary awards

Marc Newson

The degree of Doctor of Visual Arts (honoris causa) was conferred upon Marc Newson at the Faculty of Education and Social Work graduation ceremony held at 4.00pm on 26 March 2010.

Marc Newson

Chair of the Academic Board and Fellow of Senate, Professor Peter McCallum conferring the honorary degree upon Mr Newson, photo, copyright Memento Photography.


Professor McCallum, I have the honour to present Marc Newson for admission to the degree of Doctor of Visual Arts (honoris causa).

Marc Newson is one of Sydney College of the Arts’ most successful graduates. He is recognised as one of the world’s most influential and accomplished designers of his time and, since graduating in the late 1980s, he has applied his vision to a broad range of products and spaces. He has been recognised internationally for his achievements and designs. He was the recipient of six Good Design Awards from the Chicago Atheneum and a major retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum as early as 2001. Marc’s work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Design Museum, London; the Vitra Design Museum; and Musée national d’Art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Marc began working on furniture design during his studies in jewellery and sculpture at Sydney College of the Arts. After graduating, he received an Australian Arts Council grant and presented the soon to be famous ‘Lockheed Lounge’ at the blue-chip Roslyn Oxley Gallery, Sydney. In 1991, Marc set up a studio in Paris and received commissions from Europe’s most prestigious manufacturers: Cappellini, Moroso, and Flos. He designed a series of restaurants in the 1990s, including Manchester’s Mash and Air, and Coat in London. In the late 1990s, he relocated to London and established Marc Newson Ltd., where he had the capacity to work on large-scale industrial projects. He has designed mass manufactured household objects and accessories, vehicles (including a concept car for Ford, the 021C), and the interior of a Falcon 900B private jet.

Marc designed the groundbreaking Business Class seat (the Skybed) for Qantas. This extended to commissions to design many aspects of passenger amenities for Qantas and to coordinate overall design of the accoutrements of inflight passenger needs. In 2004, Qantas commissioned him to design aircraft interiors for the flagship A380 fleet and new first class airport lounges for Sydney and Melbourne. In the same year, the Australian Olympic Team wore uniforms designed by Marc Newson and Richard Allan in the Athens Olympic Games.

In 2005, the impact of Marc’s work was very clearly recognised, when TIME Magazine selected him as one the Top 100 most influential people in the world. Since 2006, he has held the position of Creative Director of Qantas Airways. In the same year, he was awarded Designer of the Year at Design Miami.

Marc Newson’s work has become a benchmark for success for the design and contemporary arts community and Sydney College of the Arts graduates. He continues to align himself closely with his alma mater and retains close connections with his native city and community. By honouring him today, the University recognizes the achievements of a truly extraordinary individual.

Professor McCallum, it is my pleasure to present Marc Newson for admission to the degree of Doctor of Visual Arts (honoris causa) and I invite you to confer the degree upon him.