ME and Ophelia

Thursday, March 04, 2004

UK Designer of the Year 2003 is on the Jury for 2004

Don't you admire good designers, how deeply they see and feel things, their attention to detail and perfectionism. Simple design is a great art. I love it when they are British and can fly the flag.

UK Designer of the Year, launched last year, is the brainchild of Alice Rawsthorn, director of the Design Museum London. 37-year old Englishman Jonathan Ive - the genius behind the iPod, PowerBook and iMac - won last year's twenty-five thousand pound prize.

I'd read in last Sunday's Style magazine, in the Times newspaper, that Jonathan Ive - probably the best industrial designer in the world today - is literally shaping our future. GQ recently named him one of its most influential people.

The article explained he is shy, softly spoken, modest and lives in a pretty but small two-bedroomed house in San Francisco's Twin Peaks district with his wife, Heather, a writer he met while at college in Newcastle.

Apparently, he loves sushi but misses curries on Brick Lane. Some of his friends, including the DJ John Digweed, didn't even know what he did at Apple until they had known him for some time. The most ostentatious thing about him is his car, a sleek Aston Martin that he uses for the daily commute to Cupertino.

At Apple HQ in Cupertino, he works with a small, carefully picked team of designers from the UK, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and America. They've been together for nearly a decade now, and he counts them among his closest friends. What they share, he says, is the ability to look at an object anew, even if it's something they use every day - or something that they have made.

There is nothing on anything he has designed that isn't there for a good reason. This explains why every iPod has its serial number individually etched onto the back, rather than on an ugly sticky label. Ive and his team spend a great deal of time simplifying their products, getting rid of clutter and solving petty problems so that the user doesn't have to think about them.

When asked about the nicest thing he owns, he says that he really doesn't surround himself with a great deal of gadgetry. He chooses his watch - a beautiful piece of precision engineering on a white natural-rubber strap, designed by his friend Marc Newson. He is obsessed with music, and never travels anywhere without his iPod.

The same magazine profiled the nominees and Jury for the Oscars of the design world:

The Nominees

1. Sam Buxton: Folding Sculptures - Best known for his MIKRO-Man folding sculptures, Buxton made a thin stainless-steel business card, which unfolded into a 3-D figure of himself working at his computer.

2. Craig Johnston: Football Boots.

3. Daniel Brown: Websites - A first-generation computer child, Brown was born in Liverpool in 1977. He became entranced by early video games and computer graphics. How he makes lyrical interactive computer images. His aim: "to harness computer game-like technology for artistic and aesthetic purposes". Many of us consider PCs to be for work, but Brown hopes his web pages harness "the same sensory effect as listening to a beautiful piece of music". Far Fetched? Look at some of his sites - such as noodlebox - and you'll get his drift. Brown works for SHOWstudio, a kind of online fashion salon, where he serves an "adult, cultured audience for a new interactive entertainment medium".

4. Paul Cocksedge: Lighting.

The nominees' work is on show at the Design Museum from March 6 to June 13. Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1.
_ _ _

The Jury

The winner will be announced on May 24. Here's the Jury:

1. David Adjaye (1966-) Architect, is the "rising star of British architecture", known for Browns Focus shops and houses for the likes of Alexander McQueen.

2. Brooke Hodge is curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

3. Jonathan Ive is vice president of industrial design at Apple and was responsible for the design of the iBook, PowerBook G4, iPod and the iMac.

4. Alice Rawsthorn (1958-) is director of the Design Museum.

5. Neil Stevenson was a leading light of, the celebrity gossip website. He now edits The Face magazine.

[Source courtesy The Sunday Times 29.02.04 Style magazine, UK]

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 3/04/2004
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