Most of us now take the ubiquitous PC, laptop and mobile device for granted; they are everywhere and all look pretty similar. As each manufacturer rolls out a new generation of devices, we are attracted not only by what each device does, but also how appealing its look is; what is its ‘cool’ factor, yet we rarely give thought to those creative minds behind the object itself.
If we consider two of the most important minds behind the majority of devices today, it would have to be Richard Sapper and Sir Jony Ive.
In 1979 Milan-based designer, Richard Sapper, was asked to be the chief industrial design consultant at IBM. With a history of designing for Alessi, Knoll and Fiat, Mr. Sapper already had an admirable track record and for the next two decades he developed a high, design standard that became the forerunner of things to come; in 1992 his work resulted in IBM’s icon, the boxy black computer called the ThinkPad laptop.
In 1996 he was behind the sleek ThinkPad 701 and in 2012 the X1 Carbon laptops. Taking a look around at other PC manufacturers, we can see how far his influenced has reached. In 1997 Mr. Sapper envisioned the next wave of computing: the wearable PC and developed a prototype which never made it to market.
Also in 1997 his path crossed with another ingenious designer, named Jony Ive, who was at that time Apple’s Head of design. Mr. Ive had been employed at Apple since 1992 and ultimately was responsible for the design of the Newton, the MessagePad 100, and the iMac which led to the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Oh, and to add to his accomplishments, he was knighted in Buckingham Palace in 2012. Today’s Apple products run the gamut from TV’s to watches, to apps monitoring heart rates, and who knows what next.
Meanwhile, other creative minds testing PCs horizons are, for example, Darwin PC’s p5yche; an ultra-futuristic PC tower that features two cases sandwiched together, using three radiators and two pumps, as well as a massive, liquid-cooling system, allowing hundreds of frames per second to be viewed at ultra-high resolutions.
Bizarre? Perhaps, but curiosity and creativity have no bounds. As hardware, software, services, apps and interaction increase, intuitively elegant designs are more difficult than ever to achieve.
Nevertheless as Mr. Ive has said, “Elegance in objects is everybody’s right, and it shouldn’t cost more than ugliness,” hence, we look forward to those behind the scenes to create more beautiful than abhorrent designs.