Jony Ive seemed embarrassed when Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter started their interview by calling Ive the “greatest industrial designer in the world right now.”
The Apple design guru closed his eyes, rubbed his head, and then provided a soft-spoken but enlightening 25-minute peek inside his head during 2014’s Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit. Wonder what he’ll say this year?
Ive, whose interview with Carter from last year is at the end of this post, will return to the stage during this year’s V.F. Summit in San Francisco. Ive will join other intellectuals and cultural icons, including his co-worker Apple Music innovator Jimmy Iovine, for one-on-one discussions conducted before a live audience at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (see the list of speakers here) October 5 to 7.
Tickets for this year’s event cost $5,500, so you’ll want to request your invitation now, big spenders.
At last year’s event, Ive deflected the singular credit he is so often given for the beauty of Apple products like the iPhone 6, the MacBook Pro or, most recently, the Apple Watch. Instead, he believes the much-celebrated designs flow from the Apple team that has been together for a long time.
“We meet religiously as a team three or four times a week,” Ive said. “On a Monday or Tuesday we don’t know what we are doing, but by Wednesday an idea that was created becomes a conversation. As soon as there is an object – we will draw and make a lot of models – there is a shift and this shift is profound and really galvanizes the focus to an entire team.”
Ive also described industrial design as a service where function and form cannot be compartmentalized. “We see design as everything (with) the best things done completely harmoniously,” he said.
He described seeing a food mixer in the family kitchen as a kid and, while he was not interested in cooking, saw its design as “achingly beautiful.”
He also admitted that computer design during his art school days in the ’80s was difficult for him – until toward the end, when he first got to use a Mac.
“The computers were absolutely terrible and I, of course, assumed the problems were with me, that I was technically inept,” Ive said. But once on a Mac, all he could think about was the team of people that had put it together.