At the Radical Art Conference held at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California in 2006, many industrial designers took the stage to proudly display their latest designs followed by applauses and cheers. Danny Hills, Artificial Intelligence pioneer, displayed a topographical computer that could render almost anything in 3D.
But the show stealer was an individual in a dark T-shirt with an almost shaven head who walked on the stage in the most simplest of way and answered questions with a smile rather than showing off his latest design creations. That man was Jonathan Ive, who recently turned a ‘knight. and will now be known as Sir Jonathan Paul Ive.
Jonathan Ive, senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple Inc just accepted a Sir before his name and was elevated to the title of Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE). The holder of more than 400 patents, Jonathan Ive was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, herself being an iPod user. He was earlier awarded the Commander of the British Empire title in 2005.
Ive was interested in drawing and ‘making stuff’ right from when he was 14 years of age. He used to be skeptical about his designs whether they would serve any good but after meeting industrial experts, things started to change.
Drawing an annual salary of more than US$ 2 million, he is responsible for the design of hugely popular Apple products like the Mac, iPod, iPhone and the iPad.
During Steve Job’s era, he reported to none except the CEO himself. And it continues with Tim Cook (present CEO) too. Having been with Apple since 1996, MacWorld once listed Jonathan Ive as a possible future CEO after Steve Jobs retires.
Jonathan Ive shared a very special relationship with Steve Jobs, who considered Ive as his ‘spiritual partner’. They both used to meet at least once a day, discussing new design strategies and incorporations in future products. A majority of Apple employees are not allowed in Jonathan and his design team’s laboratory for fear of leakage of information about upcoming Apple products. If one tries to at least hear what the design team is cooking, loud music booms into their ears. That’s the amount of privacy that Jonathan Ive prefers to enjoy, both in and out the office.
About this ‘absolutely thrilling’ development, Jonathan Ive says “I am keenly aware that I benefit from a wonderful tradition in the UK of designing and making. I discovered at an early age that all I’ve ever wanted to do is design”.
No surprise that the Museum of Modern Art, New York houses six of his Apple creations, one being the original iPod!