When we look at design, versatility is key for us, so we're rather alert to designers branching out from the product world into untapped territory.
Marc Newson designing a gun for Beretta is one of the better executed, if unexpected, collaborations of the year, reaffirming both the designer's creative flexibility and the Italian gunmaker's ability to adapt to modernity while maintaining its 500-year identity.
The new '486 Parallelo' is a contemporary update of a traditional side-by-side hunting shotgun, with a new walnut bridge making the design and user experience more seamless than ever. It is certainly an elite item few will appreciate – least of all the subtle but revolutionary design of the safety catch, which makes Newson's design unique and groundbreaking in its simplicity. Recently unveiled in London, the firearm made its debut alongside a short film by Ancarani Studio, 'Human Technology', celebrating the genesis of a Beretta shotgun.
As with every Beretta firearm, the 486 includes an intricate engraving, inspired by Japanese scrollmakers. Newson, who wanted to pay tribute to hunts in the Scottish highlands with this shotgun, uses his engraving to explain how pheasants were introduced into Europe from the Far East.
Although gunmaking might sound like a bold departure from his now-iconic product design, Newson says he is most enthusiastic when he immersed in a variety of disciplines, fields and industries. 'I am interested in the way things work - it's a technical obsession,' he says, adding that his versatility has found him recently in the luxury fashion world, designing a piece for Louis Vuitton's Iconoclasts collection, and collaborating earlier this year with tech giant Apple as part of Jonathan Ive's design team.