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Simplicity Sells: Famed Designers Jony Ive and Marc Newson Put Philosophy Up for Auction

The two designers are curating the upcoming auction for Bono's RED campaign. The collection of objects should remind you of the best design philosophy: simple is best.
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In the words of Bono, it will be a “historic moment in the history of design.” 

The U2 front man was referring to the upcoming charity auction at Sotheby’s for his RED campaign which will be curated by two famed designers, Apple’s Jony Ive and industrial designer Marc Newson. 

“We are always looking to get the best and the brightest working for the people who are the most vulnerable. In design, that’s it. It's Elvis and the Beatles, isn’t it? Jony and Marc,” said Bono in a video clip promoting the November 23 event. 

All proceeds from the auction will go directly to The Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDs and--as the video outlined--the auction will be combination of items handpicked by Newson and Ive, some items the two have slightly modified and items designed by the pair from start to finish. 

“What’s so wonderful about it is it really does cross lots of boundaries," said Newson. "All of these works have an incredible sort of philosophical value and historical value within the context of design.”  

The auction will feature a wide variety of objects--including a spacesuit, a telescope, a red Mac Book Pro and a specially designed aluminum Leica M camera, to name a few. 

Design Philosophy: Simple Is Best

“When something’s developed that’s focus and preoccupation is solving really tough problems--normally its that process that yields the most beautiful objects," said Ive. "Manufactured objects, they testify to who made them. They describe values. I think these are all extraordinary pieces of design.” 

This event will be the first time the two designers--who have reportedly been good friends for 15 years--have collaborated together on a project. Surprising, as the two seem to share similar views on design. 

For Ive, design is about more than how a product looks or feels. In a recent interview with USA Today, Ive discussed that his approach to designing products is hinged on the desire to create solutions to problems, with a focus on simplicity. 

"I've said this before, but simplicity is, well, it goes back to…you're trying to define the essence of something and come up with a solution that seems utterly inevitable and obvious," said Ive in the interview. "I think a lot of people see simplicity as the lack of clutter. And that's not the case at all. True simplicity is, well, you just keep on going and going until you get to the point where you go, 'Yeah, well, of course.' Where there's no rational alternative."

Newson has stressed similar points of design in the past as well--the importance of simplicity. In a 2012 interview with Share Design, Newson said, "As a designer I feel it is my job to improve things and look to the future and to think how things will be. I believe in simplicity rather than complexity." 

 

Last updated: Nov 12, 2013

ABIGAIL TRACY

Abigail Tracy is a staff reporter for Inc. magazine. Previously, she worked for Seattle Metropolitan magazine and Chicago magazine.




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