A year after Steve Jobs’ passing, the yacht he had been working on with famed French designer Philippe Starck finally made it out to sea. Venus is a beautiful ship that conforms to all of Steve Jobs’ philosophies on minimalist design, and it reveals a lot about Steve Jobs’ design process. that took five years to build.
The entire project took five yeas to complete as Jobs and Starck perfected the design of the yacht millimeter by millimeter. In a recent interview, Philippe Starck explains what it was like to work on designing the yacht with Steve Jobs and what the design says about Jobs’ design process.
Starck says that “Venus was about the elegance of minimum.” When Steve first approached him about designing the yacht with him, he gave Starck a complete carte blanche and let him attack the project on his own.
“[Steve] just gave me the length and the number of guests he wanted to accommodate, and that was it. In our very first meeting we had little time to speak, so I told him, I will design it, as if it is for myself. [Jobs] replied that that would be perfect for him.
Once the exterior design of the yacht was completed Jobs didn’t have many corrections and improvements that he wanted made. However, when it came to all the small details and refinements, it took Jobs and Starck years to nail it.
“We spent just one day every six weeks, for 5 years, on refinements. Millimetre by millimetre. Detail by Detail.”
Steve approached designing the yacht the same way he approached designing Apple products – stripping an object down to its essential elements. If you don’t need an optical drive, throw it out. If you don’t need extra pillows on your yacht, throw them overboard.
[Venus] is the minimum of everything. There is not a single useless item inside…. Not a single useless pillow, or a useless object. In that sense, It is the opposite of other boats. Other boats try to show off more and more. Venus is revolutionary. It is the extreme opposite.
Just like with Apple products, Steve Jobs was obsessed with details. Even after the overall design of the yacht had been nailed down, it still needed the be sculpted into perfection, bit by bit.
In the design, there is no reason for aesthetics, no reason for ego, nor for trends. We designed it by philosophy…We always wanted less and less, which was fabulous. With the design done, it was all about refining it. Re-polishing it. We came back on the same details until they were perfect. We had many calls about parameters, the result is the perfect application of our joined philosophy”.
Venus is a testament of Steve Jobs and Philippe Starck’s design philosophies working together perfectly, much in the same way that many of Apple’s products over the past 10 years were the physical manifestation to Steve Jobs and Jony Ive harmonizing over what perfection looked like.