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  • Writer's pictureMason Inc.

Why you should care about design


Earlier this year John Arlidge wrote an article in which he published an extensive interview with iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad designer, Jony Ives for Time. It is a rare and informative insight into the designer of some of the most iconic products in history. It is a great read so be sure to check it out.

It demonstrates that dedication to the quality of products makes a difference in the lives of people who use them. This is also true of office furniture including ones made by vendors here at Mason, Inc.. These include Knoll, Davis, Peter Pepper, Versteel, Landscape Forms and Dauphin among others. These masters of quality and other Mason, Inc. manufacturers are introducing great new products this week at NEOCON in Chicago. We’ll be featuring some of the best in the coming weeks.

In the meanwhile here are some portions of Aldridge’s rare interview with Ives:

“We’re surrounded by anonymous, poorly made objects. It’s tempting to think it’s because the people who use them don’t care–just like the people who make them. But what we’ve shown is that people do care,” Ive says. “It’s not just about aesthetics. They care about things that are thoughtfully conceived and well-made. We make and sell a very, very large number of (hopefully) beautiful, well-made things. Our success is a victory for purity, integrity–for giving a damn…”

“Steve and I spent months and months working on a part of a product that, often, nobody would ever see, nor realize was there,” Ive grins. Apple is notorious for making the insides of its machines look as good as the outside. “It didn’t make any difference functionally. We did it because we cared, because when you realize how well you can make something, falling short, whether seen or not, feels like failure.”

The simple truth is, Ive hates fuss and relishes simplicity. You can see that from his products. They may be revolutionary, high-tech magic boxes, but they look so elegantly simple that you know what they are for and how to use them the moment you first pick them up. The iMac banished complicated, hard-to-use PCs from our desks and made computing easy. With just a tiny white box with a scroll wheel, he put 1,000 songs in our pocket. The iPhone was so touchy-feely, it trashed the fiddly Blackberry in a heartbeat. Five-year-old kids can pick up and use the iPad.

Ive talks so much more about making things than designing them, it seems odd that he has chosen to work in tech, where so much of the magic is in the software, not the hardware. You can’t touch tech. There are no wheels or moving parts in an iPad or an iPhone. Ive says tech products offer something unique — and uniquely challenging.

“The product you have in your hand, or put into your ear, or have in your pocket, is more personal than the product you have on your desk. The struggle to make something as difficult and demanding as technology so intimately personal is what first attracted me to Apple. People have an incredibly personal relationship with what we make.”

“What people are responding to is much bigger than the object. They are responding to something rare — a group of people who do more than simply make something work, they make the very best products they possibly can. It’s a demonstration against thoughtlessness and carelessness,” he says.

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