Marc Sadler is a daredevil if ever there was one – at least when it comes to design – having created some of the most innovative designs for brands like Foscarini, Boffi, Nike and Dainese. Rachel Lee-Leong has the story.
January 22nd, 2014
Often working with and developing new technology for his products, Sadler is blessed with an inquisitive mind that never stops pushing the boundaries. Case in point: His collaboration with Foscarini that started in the year 2000 when he designed the Mite floor lamp. Using technology that had, up till then, been used only for manufacturing golf clubs, Sadler adapted it for the production of the lightweight fibreglass and carbon thread lamp. Indeed, Sadler is a champion of cross-industry pollination when it comes to production technologies.
We sat down with the man to find out more.
Mite floor lamp
Is there a common value or quality that runs across the collaborations you have with different companies?
I am an enthusiast, a risk taker. I want to make a breakthrough in my work. But to make a breakthrough, you must know what’s the past, in order to be aware of everything and then make a new improvement. So for a new customer, it is a little bit like a diesel engine – you need time to warm up and to know your customer and to get used to working with people in the companies, and then you build a relationship. When you build these relationships, then you start to have excellence in terms of solutions and I would say this is really the common way of working in all my work.
Twiggy floor lamp
You are particularly interested in new technology and new materials. Do the companies you work with usually veer in the same direction?
It’s true. The companies I work for come to me with the [same interest in new technology]. But I have another interest which is more artistic, which is the complete opposite. So I have the engineering side, I also have the artistic side. So I have both attitudes, which is very nice because this gives me the ability to be part of two worlds that I like very much.
Twiggy floor lamp
Describe your working relationship with Foscarini.
We speak together and find at the end of the tunnel something that would be interesting. Then we put some energy on the table, and try to do that – build something that I never thought would be possible or interesting. It’s not planned, but we always had new things. We grew together and we found a way of working that I was not doing with somebody else. What we were doing was a mix of art and technology, where the technology was really hidden.
Jamaica hanging lamp
You refer to yourself as “an enthusiast”. Obviously, many good things can come out of that but are there negatives to being “an enthusiast”?
Like I said before, I take too many risks. That’s not good. It’s good and normal when you’re 20 years old, but at my age, I should be able to know when to take the risk or not. Sometimes I still continue to give credit to things that don’t need credit. I’m not blind, but I would like to solve the problem whenever possible. There are projects that are dead ducks from the beginning, and I still try to revive them, and sometimes it doesn’t work.
Lite table lamp
How to you keep up with the different types of technology available in the market?
What I think I am pretty good at is watching well. When I am travelling – could be in a museum, could be in a farm, in a fair for other things – I watch. I am lucky. I work in different fields so I need to attend workshops and things from other fields, and very often I find things in one industry that I think can be used in other fields. Many times, it’s not a new material that I find. It’s just that nobody ever used it in a particular way, that’s all!
Tress floor lamp
What you would like to design that you haven’t already?
There are products around that I feel really ashamed that people are not designing them well like scooters or certain cars. They have become too much driven by marketing. They all look the same and car manufacturers are watching each other. If you take a risk, the producer who wants to produce millions would be too afraid because your product is going to be too different from the others. But this would be the challenge that I would like to attempt!
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