It's Simple / by Nathan Judd

"All they wanted from us designers was a model of what something was supposed to look like on the outside and then engineers would make it as cheap as possible. I was about to quit.” writes Jonathon Ive, head of Apples design department, about the climate before Steve Jobs returned as Apple CEO in 1997. 

“Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers.” Jonathon Ive

What struck me about the article is just how contemporary architecture and city making is suffering without a Steve Jobs. Just as our societies crave sophisticated spaces, vibrancy, differentiation, beauty…. Architects struggle against the blunt limitations imposed through the planning apparatus, building procurement models and property industry conservatism.

The conundrum is that when the built environment benefits from the simplicity, integrity and sophisticated work of ‘the designer’, the results are treasured, Utzon’s Opera house, Gehry’s Guggenheim, Niemeyer’s, Brasilia, Lab Architecture’s Federation Square and Roger’s/Piano/Franchini’s Pompidou Centre are just a few examples. The default conservative settings are really letting us all down.



 Perhaps the world has yet more to learn from Steve Job’s ‘other way’.