A vintage promotional shot emphasizes the stylish open-plan living found in an Eichler home. Photo: Eichler
With an innovative architectural style that brought elegant living to the masses, real estate developer Joseph Eichler left an indelible mark on California in the 1960s.
His beautifully simple blueprints also had an undeniable impact on Apple’s co-founders — although Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs took very different lessons from his work. Remarkably, Eichler’s design philosophy continues to shape Apple’s products, inside and out, to this day.
“I was very lucky to grow up in an Eichler,” Wozniak told Cult of Mac, referring to his family’s four-bedroom home in Sunnyvale, California. “It greatly influenced my liking of simplicity and open style. I like it whenever I see those attributes in any architecture.”
Braun’s lauded designer, Dieter Rams, has long been cited as an inspiration behind Apple’s classic design. Nearly everything Rams touched, from calculators tape recorders, radios, and even infrared emitters, have inspired Apple’s products, and according to Dieter himself, it’s a huge compliment.
In a recent interview with Fast Company, the prolific designer said if he had to do it all over again, he “would not want to be a designer.” However, if he were forced to take out his sketchpad and design a computer, it’d probably look just like Apple’s.
The Apple Store on Boylston Street in Boston boasts a remarkable spiral staircase. Photo: Joseph Thornton/Flickr CC
If you’ve ever walked into a flagship Apple Store unconvinced of the magic of Cupertino’s products, a wondrous curvy, glass staircase might have softened your psyche.
Apple’s retail outlets are almost as well known for award-winning architecture and eye-catching staircases as for the MacBooks, iPads and iPhones on sale. But Apple Stores aren’t the only places to make vertical trips seem like a magical journey.
Playful design with a serious message. Photo: Molly McLeod
Designer, artist and feminist Molly McLeod has an iPhone problem. It’s one we probably all share: We spend too much time staring at it. Imagine how much worse it’s going to get when we replace our neurotic iPhone obsession with an Apple Watch.
McLeod created four delightfully playful designs that we could use to remind us (with a healthy dose of irony) to stop staring at our tiny screens for a moment.
“I find myself habitually looking at my phone when I’m commuting or idly waiting for something,” she writes on her website, “so I thought I would make my phone give me this gentle reminder. There are always other interesting things to look at if you look up!”
Apple put an unbelievable amount of care into crafting its smartwatch. Photo: Apple
No Apple fan is oblivious to the huge amount of science, technique, expertise and care that Apple puts into every product. Apple doesn’t design its products the way it does because it has to, but because it is compelled on a profoundly spiritual level to do so.
For the Apple Watch, Apple has taken that care to the next level. And if you want to see just how much artistry, skill, craft and passion has gone into creating the latest revolutionary Apple product, there’s no better way to spend the weekend than reading about the behind-the-scenes manufacturing process of the Apple Watch.
What would a Jony Ive spacesuit look like? Photo: Sotheby’s
When you’ve designed some of the most successful consumer electronics in modern history, where else can you look but up?
One of the many interesting tidbits in The New Yorker’s 17,000-word profile of Jony Ive surrounds his fascination with the Apollo space program and, yes, designing spacesuits. It doesn’t sound like the spacesuit itself was what inspired Apple’s top designer as much as the process that went into it.
Ive mentions he’s been watching the old Discovery channel series Moon Machine about the challenges facing the Apollo program. NASA designers had no idea what goals they even needed to meet for the suit, but built up to the final design with invention after invention until they got it right.
An anecdote from The New Yorker’s time in Ive’s hallowed design studio (emphasis added):
There’s got to be a better way. Photo: Frank Costa
The address book is outdated. On the iPhone, while most of my contacts reside in the Contacts app, I rarely go in there. Instead, I connect with people on Facebook, via SnapChat, WhatsApp and more.
Product designer Frank Costa feels the same way, but he went one step further than simply banishing the Contacts app to an unused folder on his Home screen and designed this address book replacement concept, something he calls an Invisible Address Book.
While having a list of phone numbers might be silly, he says, there is benefit to having information about the people we contact frequently in one place.
“Therefore, as a design exercise,” writes Costa on Medium, “I elaborated on a couple of ideas to turn that seemingly static list of people into a slightly more ambitious project.”
No chairs exist in the office of the future, as re-imagined by artist Barbara Visser and architects Erik and Ronald Rietveld. Photo: Jan Kempenaers
The research reads like a Surgeon General’s warning: Prolonged periods of sitting can lead to obesity, heart disease, blood clots and spinal compression, according to the latest medical studies.
To combat this modern office horror, an artist and an architecture firm from the Netherlands have re-imagined the office with all the chairs pulled out from under us. The exhibit, called The End of Sitting, is a geometric landscape of surfaces of varying heights on which to lean.
“The chair and desk are no longer unquestionable starting points,” Erik and Ronald Rietveld, partners at Dutch firm Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances, told Cult of Mac. “In our society, almost the entirety of our surroundings have been for sitting while evidence from medical research suggests that too much sitting has adverse health effects.”
The world’s most famous designer, Jony Ive. Photo: Apple
Jony Ive made a rare public appearance at the Design Museum in London yesterday, where he discussed a range of topics with museum director Deyan Sudjic. Everything from the future of design, to Jony’s work at Apple popped up in the conversation, but the most intriguing parts where the insights into Jony’s design process.
Sir Jonathan told hopeful designers that great design requires you to reject reason and comes with an enormous amount of failure, but he also shared some insights on how he’s become so successful as Apple’s Senior VP of Design.
Here are 12 secrets for designers Jony spilled last night: