Dezeen Magazine

Lockheed Lounge chair by Marc Newson

Dezeen's A-Zdvent calendar: Lockheed Lounge by Marc Newson

The next instalment in our A-Zdvent calendar is the welded aluminium and fibreglass Lockheed Lounge by Australian designer Marc Newson.

One of Newson's most famous early works, the chaise longue featured in a Madonna music video and was the world's most expensive contemporary design object when it sold at auction for £1.1 million in 2009.

Now designing for Apple as well as running his London studio, Newson began his career in the 1980s creating sculptural furniture pieces by hand-welding metal.

"I was designing furniture as sculpture at the very beginning of my career," the designer told Dezeen during a 2012 interview. "I had to make these things as one-offs."

His early work included a chaise longue formed from thin plates of aluminium welded side by side, with rivets beside the seams. The metal was curved around a body made from fibreglass-reinforced plastic and the feet of its three legs are coated in rubber.

"I was really obsessed with the idea of making things myself. I was doing everything from upholstery to machining to welding," he said.

This original version of the seat, named LC1, was displayed at his first exhibition Seating for Six at Sydney's Roslyn Oxley Gallery in 1986.

Over the next two years, he refined the form to create the Lockheed Lounge – named after an American aerospace company.

"One of [my] very first pieces was the Lockheed Lounge," said Newson. "It's perhaps one of my better-known pieces."

The design gained international fame when Madonna was seen reclining on it in the music video for her 1993 track Rain.

In 2009, this particular seat was sold at auction by Phillips de Pury in London for £1.1 million – making it the most expensive contemporary design object at the time.

Swiss furniture brand Vitra has created a tiny version of the seat for its Miniatures Collection, and the design was also used as a prop in 2004 puppet film Team America: World Police.

The Lockheed Lounge remains one of the most famous pieces by Newson, who joined Apple's design team in September.

Dezeen is publishing an A to Z of iconic chairs to count down the days until Christmas. Catch up with the list so far »