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November 5, 2014

Scene and Heard: Jony Ive

“Everything I do is a collaboration,” said Jonathan Ive, Apple‘s senior vice president of design, while accepting the Bay Area Treasure Award from the Modern Art Council (MAC) of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) on Thursday, October 30. “I’m very grateful and happy with this honor, and I’m accepting it on behalf of my team, who are all here tonight,” added the softly spoken designer credited with developing the look and feel of the iMac, iPod, and Apple Watch among other devices.

Ive is the first designer to receive the award in the 15 years since its inception; it has traditionally gone to artists. As many guests raised their iPhones to capture Instagram-worthy shots of the honoree, SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra spoke about the honoree. “Jony Ive is one of the greatest and most influential designers of our time. Exquisite design underpins everything he does. He has elevated our lives and our everyday experiences.” Joining a standing ovation were Dede Wilsey, Heather Ive, Andrew Gn, Randi Fisher, Allison Spear, Trevor and Alexis Traina, and Ken Fulk. The sold-out gala dinner, held at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in the Financial District, also included a discussion with the museum’s design curator, Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher and Frances Anderton, a design commenter on NPR.

Ive revealed his delight with the Apple Watch, which will be on sale early in 2015. “The wrist is a remarkable place for lightweight interactions, and the Apple Watch is the beginning of a new and very important category of technology,” said Ive. “As soon as something is worn, people want to personalize it and so we are working to make it broadly appealing. We call it a watch, even though it could also have been called a phone or something else.”

Ive said his team has been discovering new ways of using the watch, including as a gentle wakeup device that taps the wearer on the wrist. “We have a child-like awe and curiosity about the watch—and we know wearers will find many ingenious and artful ways of using this interactive object.”

Although one could argue that Ive has designed the look and feel of the future by creating the space-age devices that guide us around town and show us maps of the stars, he declined to predict what we’ll be using to store, send, and consume information in the coming years. “Everything will be completely different in twenty years,” he said. “Technology is moving so fast.  I can’t even imagine. It will be very exciting.”

By Diane Dorrans Saeks


Pictured: Apple’s design chief Jonathan Ive
Photo by: Drew Altizer

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