In an interview in Arch Design Magazine Wallpaper, former Apple Chief Design Sir Jonny Ive reminisces about the advice given to him by the company’s founder, Steve Jobs.
He also expresses his anger that a lot of design these days doesn’t work the way he and Jobs did at Apple, and is all the poorer for it – going so far as to claim that “many products don’t deserve to exist.”
Ive is described in the interview as “unfailingly polite, concerned and thoughtful”, but often describes his design process as “furious” and “angry”, especially in regards to design’s response to climate change on which he has worked with Prince Charles, the Prince. from Wales.
The heir to the British throne and the knight of the realm are featured on the cover of the magazine.
Ive was not only Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) but also Royal Designer for Industry and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering for the past ten years.
He recently designed the seal for the Prince of Wales’s Terra Carta campaign, with the motto ‘For Nature, People and Planet’.
Based on the famous royal charter of rights, the Magna Carta, which was forcibly signed in 1215 by Prince Charles’ distant relative, King John, Terra Carta is a mandate that puts sustainability at the heart of the private sector. It is intended to guide companies to avert climate catastrophes in the belief that capitalism and enlightened self-interest are compatible with saving the planet.
The seal was designed by Ive using a specially drawn Baskerville-derived serif font that he reserves for his personal projects.
While all this royal talk may sound archaic, Wallpaper reports that, despite its Latin name, Terra Carta is written in the language of modern management theory and looks at areas of green investment, such as electric flight, carbon-neutral construction and nuclear fission.
“Terra Carta provides the foundation for a recovery plan that puts nature, people and the planet at the heart of global value creation – one that will harness the precious, irreplaceable power of nature in tandem with the transformative innovation and resources of the private sector,” says Prince Charles of his project.
Ive helps Prince Charles advise the four winners of the Prince’s £200,000 ($240,000) Sustainable Markets Initiative to market their projects. The two teamed up after Ive suggested establishing a design lab at the Royal College of Art (RCA), of which he is chancellor.
The Prince and the Knight first met when Steve Jobs, the founder of Ive and Apple, visited the Prince at his private residence in Highgrove.
Ive says Prince Charles’ active involvement in climate change “isn’t born of fear”.
“Fear seems passive. I’m angrier than scared,” Ive says.
“It’s dangerous to feel powerless in the face of a challenge. The thing with fear is that it is passive, corrosive and deeply unhealthy. It encourages you to withdraw because you don’t think you can influence change.”
I’m mad at today’s product design
Ive is just as angry about design these days. “I am angry that most of what is made seems so thoughtless. So many products don’t deserve to exist. The minimum they have to do to justify themselves and consume all that material is that their designers care about them.”
“We have lost sight of how recent industrialization is. Unlike architecture, design is still a new profession. It was developed by putting a design firm on top of a factory, then discovering the authorship and still trying to understand the equation.”
“When you design, you have to have a thorough knowledge of materials, otherwise you will end up with broken form development.
“You often hear people apologize that things weren’t made the way they wanted. I understand that excuse, but at Apple I spent months in production sites and my apology would not have been cash.”
Care is key to design
“If designed and made with care, a mass-produced object can have the resonances of a series production. It comes down to motivation and the sacrifices you make for the exercise.”
“Steve told me that if you make something with care, even if you don’t know who the people are using it, they will feel it. Care is a way of expressing our love for the species.’”
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