Whether designing an airline or a Paris boutique, Marc Newson’s projects keep him crisscrossing the globe. Here, his travel hit list.
Understated is not a word usually associated with Aussie designer Marc Newson and his glossy creations. But the man behind the luxe-mod interiors of New York’s Lever House Restaurant (390 Park Ave.; 212/888-2700), and the space-age Ikepod watch promises just that for his latest project: a revamp of Qantas’s A380 cabins and airport lounges to be completed this spring. "They’ll be very understated, but very cool," he says. We catch up with the trailblazer for his finds and faves.
My favorite hotel in the world is the Okura (2-10-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku; 81-3/3582-0111; doubles from $370) in Tokyo. I find it reassuring that it’s barely changed since it opened in 1962. Service is most important, and the hotel is renowned for it. The staff is truly interested in your well-being. They’re so efficient and discreet, you don’t even think about it.
Food for Thought
I try not to snack, unless I’m in Thailand, where the street food is fantastic. But I like going to Toraya (www.toraya-group.co.jp), in Tokyo and Paris. They make the most delicate and delicious sesame macaroons. In London, I recommend Fry’s Turkish Delight chocolate bars, which you can get at any sweets shop, and in Sydney, Harry’s Cafe de Wheels (Cowper Wharf Rd., Woolloomooloo; 61-2/9357-3074) for the best pie and peas.
I get my nightshirts from Charvet (28 Place Vendôme; 33-1/42-60-30-70), in Paris. Just the idea of nightshirts is hilarious, but they’re actually very practical. They’re highly underrated.
When I travel, I like to have a steam bath and a massage. In Moscow, I head to the banyas, or baths. Similarly, the onsen (hot springs) in Japan are incredibly relaxing, cleansing, and beautiful. They can also be quite social, and I always go with friends.
When I go to Japan, I stock up on tea. I especially like the hoji-cha, made by roasting tea leaves, from the Ippodo tearoom in Kyoto (Teramachi Nijo-agaru, Nakagyo-ku; 81-75/211-3421). It’s supposed to be good for you, and the tearoom is a fine place to enjoy it.
Though Newson pegs himself as a reluctant shopper, here are four stores that he can’t resist.
New York I don’t particularly like design shops, but if I had to go to one, I’d pick Moss (150 Greene St.; 866/888-6677). It sells things you’ll find elsewhere—modern classics, contemporary pieces—but they’re mixed with baroque porcelain and unique objects. The display changes so often, it’s never the same store twice.
Milan I collect knives—not for hunting or cooking—just for their beauty and precision. One of the best places to get them is at G. Lorenzi (9 Via Montenapoleone; 39-02/7602-2848), which has been around since the 1920’s and also has pipes, razors, combs, and brushes.
Paris Deyrolle (46 Rue du Bac; 33-1/42-22-30-07)is a cabinet of curiosities, stuffed with hunting trophies, taxidermy, and other specimens. Over the years, I’ve bought a few things there—mainly butterflies and beetles. It’s just incredible that a shop like this still exists.
Tokyo I shop by accident—never by design—but always manage to stumble into a Tokyu Hands (12–18 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku; 81-03/5489-5111). They have everything: kitchenware, toys, school supplies, paint, any tool you can think of. My favorite, in Shibuya, has seven floors and great energy.