Monday, March 5, 2012

It's OK to take your iPod into the bathroom. Really.

Jonathan "Jony" Ive did not join Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in the garage. He joined Apple decades later, as an emigrant.

The manner of [Ives'] departure for the U.S. is particularly galling to Clive Grinyer....

‘We lost a great talent,’ says Grinyer. ‘We virtually created our own consultancy, Tangerine, just so that we could employ Jony (as Ive prefers to be called). And if I had to put my finger on why and where we lost him it would have to have been one day at Ideal Standard in Hull.

'Tangerine had a consultancy contract with the bathroom-fittings company to design a toilet. I was there when Jony made an excellent presentation to this guy who was wearing a red nose because it was Comic Relief day. This clown then decided to throw his weight around and pulled apart Jony’s design. It was ridiculous. Britain lost Jony Ive then and there.’

So Ive left the bozo and went to work for Steve Jobs.

Several years passed, and this episode occurred.

One morning, a designer sprang into the frog studio. “I know why everyone says the iPod looks clean!” he exclaimed. Ask anyone what’s so appealing about the design of the iPod, and, almost without exception, they answer, “I like it because it looks clean.”...

“So,” the visiting designer said, “as I was sitting on the toilet this morning, I noticed the shiny white porcelain of the bathtub and the reflective chrome of the faucet on the wash basin, and then it hit me! The iPod is ‘clean’ because it references bathroom materials.”

There were a few seconds of silence, followed quickly by laughter. We were laughing because we knew that Jonathan Ive, who designed the iPod, came to Apple from a London- based design consultancy where he worked on a lot of lavatory basins.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But at the very least, it’s an example of how anything, no matter how unconnected, can spark new perceptions.

H/T Things do not change, we change for the second story.
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