Dominic Bradbury, Journalist & Writer


The inspiration behind Marc Newson’s London apartment came from the particular direction of North by North West. It was the mountain chalet in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film that steered the designer’s ideas for the home that he shares with his partner, fashion editor, consultant and stylist Charlotte Stockdale, and their young daughters Imogen and Lucienne. Situated on the second floor of a vast Edwardian former mail sorting depot, the building might have invited a loft-style treatment but this was the last thing that Newson wanted.

‘Lofts are large and cold,’ says Newson, who collaborated on the design of the apartment with architects Squire & Partners. ‘We wanted to preserve a sense of volume but at the same time create an atmosphere and warmth, which is quite difficult to achieve in such a large space. That’s the thing about chalets – they are naturally cosy no matter how big the space. That house in North by North West became a reference point for this apartment and inspired the river rock wall. I had to import the rock from Novia Scotia.’ 

This wall of rounded stones has become a focal point of the double height living room, bringing a great sense of texture and drama. It surrounds a fireplace flanked by Liljevalch sofas upholstered in a leafy, green Windows textile, both by Josef Frank for Svenskt Tenn. These organic mid-century flavours, along with the blonde oak floors, contrast with the more futuristic quality of other architectural elements in the apartment, where openings and internal windows are carved into the curving walls that form the upper level of Newson’s home and look down into the living area and kitchen below.

A number of Newson’s own equally futuristic designs are threaded into the mix: there are two Micarta chairs in the living room, as well as a marble Low Voronoi Shelf in the dining area nearby opposite a sinuous Newson Felt chair. The Australian-born designer is much respected for his furniture design, including pieces for brands such as Magis and Capellini, and he has also created airplane interiors for Qantas, watches for Ikepod, jackets and jeans for G-Star, bicycles for Biomega and a whole lot more. But he is just as well known – if not more so - for his unique and limited edition pieces, such as the Voronoi shelf, that have sold in the manner of gallery artworks; a few years ago Newson’s Lockheed Lounge chaise longue was sold for nearly £750,000 by Christie’s.

One of Newson’s favourite spaces in the apartment – which feels very much in tune with the public perception of Newson’s dynamic style of design - is the master bathroom, lined in striped marble that is carved and shaped so that it becomes one seamless, curvaceous surface. The kitchen too, in an enticing pistachio green, is another bespoke Newson creation.

‘I love this particular shade of green,’ says Newson, ‘helped by the fact that I had read somewhere that a couple of scientists had determined that this was the real shade of the universe (incorrectly as it turned out). I even had my vintage Aston Martin DB4 painted that colour.’

But Newson and Stockdale’s generously sized, three bedroom apartment offers a choice of journeys and discoveries and the library, in particular, comes as a particular surprise. This was Stockdale’s request, having grown up in a house with a library, and was designed as a traditional wood panelled room using salvaged oak panelling, plus a zebra skin rug mixed with sofas upholstered in a tweed from Colefax & Fowler.

‘This room is where Charlotte had her own way,’ Newson says. ‘I never grew up in a house with a library, but Charlotte did – she loves books and reading. So we brought in oak panelling and a Stockdale family heirloom zebra skin rug. I thought it was such as whacky thing to do. Charlotte said that she would be very happy and comfortable living in my style as long as she could have curtains, dimmable lighting and a library.’

For Newson himself, the greatest success of the apartment lies in the fact that this is not a loft-like exhibition hall or gallery, but a welcoming space enjoyed by the whole family. ‘Having a young family guided the design to a large extent,’ he says. Space was a priority. Just before this we were living in a five storey townhouse with only two rooms on each floor, so seeing Imogen running around this place is amazing. It feels like home.‘


Marc Newson
Squire & Partners