Jony Ive talks Steve Jobs's vision for Apple Park, design inspiration from 'Star Wars'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2017
A wide-ranging conversation with Apple's Chief Design Officer Jony Ive discusses how the ultimate execution of Apple Park hews very close to founder Steve Jobs's vision for the project, and how he inspired Star Wars director J.J. Abrams, and vice versa.




Speaking to WSJ. Magazine Ive is understatedly pleased with the development, saying that "it's nice" when asked about how he felt about the process.

"There's the same rather strange process you go through when you finish a product and you prepare to release it--it's the same set of feelings," said Ive to the publication. "That feels, I don't know, encouragingly healthy, because I would be concerned if we lost that sense of anxiety."

Ive and Jobs

Ive and Jobs shared drawings and books with each other in the early days of planning the campus, according to Jobs's widow Laurene Powell Jobs. Steve Jobs and Ive shared the same idea about product design, and that scaled up to the campus.

"You can talk about [architecture] in terms of scale and function and materials, material types," Ive told the Wall Street Journal Magazine. "I think the delineation is a much, much softer set of boundaries that mark our expertise."




Like Jobs, Ive isn't shy about criticizing Apple's competitors. Beyond product design, Ive also takes the rest of Silicon Valley to task.

"A lot of the buildings that are being built at the moment are products of software-only cultures," says Ive. "Because we understand making, we'll build [a prototype] and try it and use it, and see what works and what doesn't."

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away

Apple's AirPods, designed by Ive, have roots in "Star Wars," and the designer had his influence on the film as well. Speaking to J.J. Abrams, director of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, Ive mentioned that he would love to see a rougher lightsaber, spitting sparks. Abrams adapted the idea for the film to adapt the weapon to the wielder's personality -- and Ive told Abrams later that he had the look of the original Stormtroopers from 1977 in mind when he designed Apple's earbuds.




On Feb. 22, Apple officially named the "spaceship" campus under construction. The entire facility is now called "Apple Park," with the 20-foot tall and 165 foot in diameter glass auditorium honoring one of the founders of the company and named the "Steve Jobs Theater."

An environmentally-friendly design was paramount to Jobs's vision, and Apple's related Phase 2 project adds additional workspace adjacent to the main headquarters, and includes a small data center powered by on-site the on-site solar farm, fuel cells, and other sources of renewable energy.

A new micro-grid installed on the campus is reportedly capable of delivering 17 megawatts of power from solar alone, and handling about 75 percent of the facility's power requirements. The solar installation is supplemented by Bloom Energy-provided fuel cells, similar to those installed at the North Carolina data center.
tallest skil
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    Oh, does he still work there? Wouldn't have known.
    lmac
  • Reply 2 of 22
    smaffeismaffei Posts: 237member
    Am I the only one that noticed that all of Ive's "Star Wars" inspiration comes from the Empire's design school?

    Says a lot about Apple's current trajectory…
    king editor the gratedoozydozen
  • Reply 3 of 22
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,867moderator
    Oh great, here comes DeathStarGate.  (Double reference intended.)
    stompyauxioKenster999
  • Reply 4 of 22
    klink172klink172 Posts: 16member
    smaffei said:
    Am I the only one that noticed that all of Ive's "Star Wars" inspiration comes from the Empire's design school?

    Says a lot about Apple's current trajectory…
    Are you implying that they're going to blow up Alderaan?
    king editor the gratedoozydozen
  • Reply 5 of 22
    larz2112larz2112 Posts: 291member
  • Reply 6 of 22
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,936member
    Oh, does he still work there? Wouldn't have known.
    Why, do you also work at Apple corporate? Or are you just a guy on a rumors website in a city far, far away from HQ? As if we knew anything of what really goes on within those walls.
    pscooter63stompyauxiodoozydozenlolliver
  • Reply 7 of 22
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,936member
    smaffei said:
    Am I the only one that noticed that all of Ive's "Star Wars" inspiration comes from the Empire's design school?

    Says a lot about Apple's current trajectory…
    Nonsense, and just classic moving of the goal posts. People have been saying Apple was a struggling, loser underdog for decades -- and now all of a sudden people are saying they're on the decline. But but but before you said they were losing an uphill battle...
    edited July 2017 tmaylolliver
  • Reply 8 of 22
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    Behind a stupid paywall.
  • Reply 9 of 22
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,936member
    WSJ is so clueless about technology and historically has put forth a hater narrative, I don't know why Apple even talked to them. Yet even so the WSJ still works its nonsense troll tropes into the piece:

    Apple hasn’t had a breakthrough product since Jobs died. The iPhone’s sales growth has stalled, and expectations are high that a 10th-anniversary phone will arrive later this year and will be markedly more advanced than previous versions. In other technologies, from digital assistants to driverless vehicles to augmented and virtual reality, Apple seems to lag other tech giants, including Google, Amazon and Tesla. Its new voice-activated speaker, HomePod, unveiled in June, will arrive on the market in December, three years after Amazon’s Echo.

    ...classic tropes, such as expecting groundbreaking products of the Mac and iPhone sort, to ignoring actual new successes like the Watch and AirPods, to pretending the current iphone isnt loaded with continuously improving tech, to saying Apple is late with its car, to claiming they're behind in AR and VR, behind Amazon because of the undisclosed Echo sales, etc etc... All while ignoring the rocksolid, hardcore innovation Apple is doing with its silicon and display technology (from the MBP to iPP). It's as if Apple gear still isn't the most coveted and sought after, with consumers routinely waiting in lines and causing mass sell-outs -- every. single. year. 
    edited July 2017 tmayjeffharrisdoozydozenSolipatchythepiratelolliverpscooter63
  • Reply 10 of 22
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,038member
    Oh, does he still work there? Wouldn't have known.
    Why the snark? You haven't seen as much of him during Apple event videos so it means he's being lazy—is that your implication? I think this is the first time its been mentioned that Ives was involved in the AirPods design.
    pscooter63
  • Reply 11 of 22
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    Gruber posted a portion of the profile in which apparently some employees aren’t happy with the open workspaces. One, I’m assuming this was discussed and debated amongst everyone involved in the project (including Jobs, Cook, HR etc.) and not just an edict from Ive. And I’m also assuming employees moving to the new building knew this was coming and were able tour a sample workstation before moving in. Two, did Apple have any editorial control over this piece? If so I’m amazed they would allow employee grumbling about open workspaces to even make it in the piece.
    welshdog
  • Reply 12 of 22
    Open workspaces, especially for coding, is a terrible idea. I expect iOS 12 to suck
    doozydozentadd
  • Reply 13 of 22
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,903member
    Gruber posted a portion of the profile in which apparently some employees aren’t happy with the open workspaces. One, I’m assuming this was discussed and debated amongst everyone involved in the project (including Jobs, Cook, HR etc.) and not just an edict from Ive. And I’m also assuming employees moving to the new building knew this was coming and were able tour a sample workstation before moving in. Two, did Apple have any editorial control over this piece? If so I’m amazed they would allow employee grumbling about open workspaces to even make it in the piece.
    The open workspace concept has been tried before, many times. Notably,  Apple's long-time ad agency Chiat-Day tried it in 1994.  It got a lot of attention.  I wonder what kind or research Ive and company did regarding this plan?

    https://www.wired.com/1999/02/chiat-3/


    Spoiler: It does not work.
    patchythepiratetadd
  • Reply 14 of 22
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Tim at the first Apple Park board meeting:


    StrangeDays
  • Reply 15 of 22
    smaffei said:
    Am I the only one that noticed that all of Ive's "Star Wars" inspiration comes from the Empire's design school?

    Says a lot about Apple's current trajectory…
    Nonsense, and just classic moving of the goal posts. People have been saying Apple was a struggling, loser underdog for decades -- and now all of a sudden people are saying they're on the decline. But but but before you said they were losing an uphill battle...
    I assumed it was a lame joke about Apple being defeated by Ewoks. 
  • Reply 16 of 22
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    smaffei said:
    Am I the only one that noticed that all of Ive's "Star Wars" inspiration comes from the Empire's design school?

    Says a lot about Apple's current trajectory…
    Nonsense, and just classic moving of the goal posts. People have been saying Apple was a struggling, loser underdog for decades -- and now all of a sudden people are saying they're on the decline. But but but before you said they were losing an uphill battle...
    Yeah, the empire that just changed name and is now thriving 40 years later as the first order ;-)..  So, probably means Apple still got 40 years in it before some young Jedi starts to stir its shit up :-).
    Apple is so delightfully "evil" just like its namesake in the garden of eden.
  • Reply 17 of 22
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member
    smaffei said:
    Am I the only one that noticed that all of Ive's "Star Wars" inspiration comes from the Empire's design school?

    Says a lot about Apple's current trajectory…
    Because the dark side is the cool side.
    lollivertadd
  • Reply 18 of 22
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    …Ive mentioned that he would love to see a rougher lightsaber, spitting sparks. Abrams adapted the idea for the film…
    You’re kidding! That’s so random.
    Behind a stupid paywall.
    Gotcha covered.
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 19 of 22
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    welshdog said:
    The open workspace concept has been tried before, many times. Spoiler: It does not work.
    Certainly doesn’t work for education, either. Local high school was built as an “open concept” in the early 1970s. No walls between classrooms or between the classes and halls. Yeah, you heard that right. They eventually started playing “white noise” music (Flight of the Bumblebee on repeat, if I remember correctly) over the intercom to try to drown out the other classrooms, but music wouldn’t drown out the other kids bonking the heads of those in the back of the classrooms as they walked past in the “halls”. Movable partitions were used almost immediately, with paper thin floor to ceiling walls installed in a decade or two. I think that I just read they’re finally getting real walls this year. This. year. WALLS WORK, PEOPLE. SUCK IT UP AND ADMIT IT.  :p 
  • Reply 20 of 22
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,120member
    Gruber posted a portion of the profile in which apparently some employees aren’t happy with the open workspaces. One, I’m assuming this was discussed and debated amongst everyone involved in the project (including Jobs, Cook, HR etc.) and not just an edict from Ive. And I’m also assuming employees moving to the new building knew this was coming and were able tour a sample workstation before moving in. Two, did Apple have any editorial control over this piece? If so I’m amazed they would allow employee grumbling about open workspaces to even make it in the piece.
    Those are big assumptions since this is the company whose CEO was famous for saying that he never asked people what they want since they don't know. 
    And even if the employees did get a tour of the new workstations, which is highly unlikely, do you really think that would placate them?
    And how can Apple, or any other company, prevdnt its employees from talking?
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