What happens when the oldest firearms company in the world offers the design of the most traditional and elegant shotgun – the side by side – to Marc Newson, the industrial designer who recently joined Apple. A masterpiece is created.
Beretta, a major protagonist in the world of premium guns, recently invited us to attend the highly anticipated launch of the new “486 by Marc Newson” and the original short movie “Human Technology” by Ancarani Studio. The Bulgari hotel, in the heart of London’s Knightsbridge, was the backdrop chosen to unveil and celebrate these two extraordinary collaborations, driven by the constant pursuit of innovation and backed by five hundred years of manufacturing excellence.
Whether you are an avid game hunter or an admirer of Newson’s design you will be intrigued by this respectful re-interpretation of the traditional side-by-side. To the former you can appreciate the many innovative technological solutions, such as the wood-bridge. To the latter, the beauty is in what is missing; there is not one visible screw. The lines flow through the entire surface of the shotgun with no sharp edges or breaks. This is typical to Newson’s style of smooth flowing lines, translucency, strength and transparency, known as biomorphism.
Newson explains that “The main focus for my design of the 486 was to simplify and rationalise all the surfaces. Specifically streamlining the area of the action.”
Thanks to this original design, the safety catch is no longer a remote mechanism on the end of the receiver, but is now seamlessly set into the high-grade walnut, almost like a bridge, creating a beautiful element of distinction.
Traditional side-by-side shotguns have always been very simple and elegant. However Newson has used the characteristics of steel and modern machining to elevate the concept of the ‘round body’, making the receiver edgeless and bringing it to a new level of elegance.
The cold-hammer forged Beretta OptimaBore barrels are built to be tough and to last for generations. Moreover, the Triblock technology makes the barrel truly elegant by eliminating any welding lines.
Another distinctive feature is the fixing of the trigger guard to the receiver. While most shotguns screw the guard to the bottom of the receiver, the 486 by Marc Newson inserts the trigger guard into a milled guide. The result is a perfect junction of two surfaces, which creates a higher aesthetic value.
“My initial source of inspiration came from the idea that pheasants originate and are native to Asia, before being widely introduced elsewhere as a game bird. For me it was important to somehow pay homage to this and incorporate a subtle Asian influence into the design.” Marc Newson
This unique design is made possible by the high-tech laser technology used in the manufacturing process which even by laser takes 27 hours (600 by hand). This ensures the best texture wrap over the entire surface of the receiver and also allows for a deep contrast and sharp resolution in all the details of the engraving.
This movie by Ancarani Studio, under the creative direction of Paola Manfrin, reveals through the minutia of the manufacturing process, the genesis of a luxury Beretta shotgun. A poetic journey through sterile robotic rooms is blended with five centuries of Beretta’s history, culminating in the final assembly by the gunsmith, ever the wise guardian of the art of manufacturing.
The 486 by Marc Newson is available to buy for around £17,000 from the Beretta London Gallery just off Jermyn Street.
Beretta London Gallery (36 St. James’s Street, London SW1A 1JD)
Store hours: Monday to Friday: 9:30am – 6:00pm and Saturday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
[Written by Isabelle Dellar]