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Apple

How Jony Ive Masterminded Apple's New Headquarters (wsj.com) 62

Reader cdreimer writes: As reported by The Wall Street Journal (paywalled, summary by Apple Insider), Jony Ive explains how he brought forth Steve Jobs' final design, Apple Park, Apple's newest campus headquarters, to life: "On a sunny day in May, Jonathan Ive -- Jony to anyone who knows him -- first encounters a completed section of Apple Park, the giant campus in Cupertino, California, that has turned into one of his longest projects as Apple's chief designer. A section of workspace in the circular, Norman Foster -- designed building is finally move-in-ready: sliding-glass doors on the soundproof offices, a giant European white oak collaboration table, adjustable-height desks, and floors with aluminum-covered hinged panels, hiding cables and wires, and brushed-steel grating for air diffusion. Ive's characteristically understated reaction -- "It's nice, though, isn't it?" -- masks the anxiety he feels each time a product he's designed is about to be introduced to the world. "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," says Ive, who turned 50 in February. "That feels, I don't know, encouragingly healthy, because I would be concerned if we lost that sense of anxiety. I think that would suggest that we were not as self-critical, not as curious, not as inquisitive as we have to be to be able to be effective and do good work." Apple Park is unlike any other product Ive has worked on. There will be only one campus -- in contrast to the ubiquity of Apple's phones and computers -- and it doesn't fit in a pocket or a hand. Yet Ive applied the same design process he brings to technological devices: prototyping to minimize any issues with the end result and to narrow what he calls the delta between the vision and the reality of a project. Apple Park is also the last major project Ive worked on with Steve Jobs, making it more personal for the man Jobs once called his "spiritual partner.""
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How Jony Ive Masterminded Apple's New Headquarters

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  • Apple's secret is (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2017 @10:32AM (#54882513)

    Making stuff nice for people.

    • Making stuff nice for people.

      PERFECTLY stated!

      • by Anonymous Coward
        It's time to remember Parkinson Law of Buildings - "During a period of exciting discovery or progress there is no time to plan the perfect headquarters. The time for that comes later, when all the important work has been done. Perfection, we know, is finality; and finality is death."
    • by dbialac ( 320955 )
      Making stuff ugly for people. Every time I see iOS 7+ or OSX Yosemite and later, I want to vomit. I used to love Apple until they "redesigned" everything. Something finally hit me looking at the pictures: they present something very drab and emotionless and try to add a few highlights to make you think it isn't the same drab, boring thing you've been looking at all along.
      • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2017 @11:14AM (#54883077) Homepage Journal

        Making stuff ugly for people. Every time I see iOS 7+ or OSX Yosemite and later, I want to vomit. I used to love Apple until they "redesigned" everything. Something finally hit me looking at the pictures: they present something very drab and emotionless and try to add a few highlights to make you think it isn't the same drab, boring thing you've been looking at all along.

        You think that's bad? There's this web site called Slashdot, with grim, dark green banners on every posting and rounded corners on all rectangles, straight out of 1984.
         

        • by PIBM ( 588930 )

          To be fair, only the dark green boxes have one and only one rounded corner. And even the title isn't rounded!! Still.. =)

        • You think that's bad? There's this web site called Slashdot, with grim, dark green banners on every posting and rounded corners on all rectangles, straight out of 1984.

          Which - so long as you stick to the standard version - still loads fast on all platforms because it isn't weighed down by gigabytes of scripting. No having to choose the one browser on each machine or device that supports the scripting system the site uses. No rococo monstrosities like LiveFyre commenting or 'endless' pages.

          • I'm most shocked that my post got an 5:Insightful rating. I was digging for a funny.
             

            • Slashdot moderators are a fickle bunch, bordering on unpredictable. When they bought the place, I made fun if them. That might have been the dumbest thing they've ever done. I imagine it's like herding cats. About the only prediction one can make about us is that we will bitch. We do like bitching.

      • To me, it's more a question of where your attention should be. The recent design trend across the industry towards "flatter" designs is intended to put more emphasis on the content itself, rather than the window chrome around it. I'm fully in support of that notion, so long as the designers exercise the restraint necessary to prevent it from becoming a noisy, cluttered mess (e.g. Windows' live tiles). Towards that end, de-emphasizing everything else makes a lot of sense, which Apple and others have been doi

      • Making stuff ugly for people. Every time I see iOS 7+ or OSX Yosemite and later, I want to vomit. I used to love Apple until they "redesigned" everything. Something finally hit me looking at the pictures: they present something very drab and emotionless and try to add a few highlights to make you think it isn't the same drab, boring thing you've been looking at all along.

        Have you used Win10 lately? MacOS, for all its faults, is miles better in terms of design and usability. Microsoft can't even be bothered to unify the look of its awful "modern" UI elements with the legacy control panels that go all the way back to Win2000. Much less concatenate their two(!) control panels into one. They'd much rather concentrate on live-tile ads and other you-can't-uninstall-that BS crapware that I shouldn't have to put up with when I've actually paid full price for their OS.

        Plus some idio

  • You have seen those youtube videos where the drone does a flyover of the new campus. You get the feeling that this campus is huge, but yet able to be navigable and still look stylish, and the best thing that the designer can say is "It's nice"?
    • He's British, right? Understatement is the name of the game.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Apple zealots love their new church building.

  • Where we cover technology for hipsters.
  • by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2017 @11:01AM (#54882901) Journal

    After Apple fades, or evolves, I wonder what the complex will be used for?

    'Harlem' in New York is an interesting historical example. It was built as high-priced housing for the upper class. When the upper class didn't move in, it was adopted by a racial minority. It's high quality construction, so it will last a long time.

    This new Apple complex seems like it is high quality construction. What will it be used for 100 years from now, after Apple is just marketing history? Will the demographics of the area have been changed? Will it be a dispensary and shelter for homeless people? Will the rich have moved in and hardened it to make it into a fortress/housing complex? Will it be the evil headquarters for some villains?

  • by Invisible Now ( 525401 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2017 @11:03AM (#54882937)

    Keeps the outside world walled out from its private inner garden. Geometrically maximizes he distance between employees on the circumference of a circle.

  • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2017 @11:07AM (#54882985)

    If you look at aerial photos, the campus looks very similar in size and shape to a synchrotron light source facility. See for example
    http://www.esrf.eu/ [www.esrf.eu]

    Now if Apple really is building a synchrotron, I'm impressed. Sadly though I think its just cargo cult - spending billions on a building that looks like something cool, but doesn't really do anything interesting.

  • All the people who actually "masterminded" that silly pretty building must love when instead the Cult of Personality gives all the credit to the guy who makes colorful icons.
    • All the people who actually "masterminded" that silly pretty building must love when instead the Cult of Personality gives all the credit to the guy who makes colorful icons.

      There still won't be enough parking.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Apple Park will have 14K employees, 11K parking spots and 28% of employees (~5K) are expected to take public transit. That's leave 1K of parking available for the public to visit the Apple Store and Visitor Center.

        http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-park-new-campus-more-parking-than-offices-2017-4 [businessinsider.com]

        • Apple Park will have 14K employees, 11K parking spots and 28% of employees (~5K) are expected to take public transit. That's leave 1K of parking available for the public to visit the Apple Store and Visitor Center.

          http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-park-new-campus-more-parking-than-offices-2017-4 [businessinsider.com]

          Thank you for the link. I've seen this logic applied in several large campuses. It's wrong every time.

          • What do you think is wrong about it?
            • The assumption that 28% of people will take public transport is wrong. When there is bad weather, more people take their car. When there are events, more people from outside the company visit the campus. So the number varies a lot and then unless you've catered for the worst case, you run out of parking spots.

              • The assumption that 28% of people will take public transport is wrong. When there is bad weather, more people take their car. When there are events, more people from outside the company visit the campus. So the number varies a lot and then unless you've catered for the worst case, you run out of parking spots.

                The assumption is that 28% of their employees will take public transportation. Where does that number come from? I would assume it's because that's what their employees do now [mercurynews.com]. "Currently, the main Apple campus has a 28 percent transportation demand management rate, which means that 28 percent of employees at that campus use an alternate mode of transportation, other than a single-occupancy vehicle,"

                • The assumption that 28% of people will take public transport is wrong. When there is bad weather, more people take their car. When there are events, more people from outside the company visit the campus. So the number varies a lot and then unless you've catered for the worst case, you run out of parking spots.

                  The assumption is that 28% of their employees will take public transportation. Where does that number come from? I would assume it's because that's what their employees do now [mercurynews.com].
                  "Currently, the main Apple campus has a 28 percent transportation demand management rate, which means that 28 percent of employees at that campus use an alternate mode of transportation, other than a single-occupancy vehicle,"

                  My observation, which you seem to have entirely missed, is that the number of people that take public transport changes from day to day. The limits of that variation is what matters. It's not a fixed number. Few things are.

              • by printman ( 54032 )

                A *lot* of Apple employees use the company buses already as they are very convenient, rain or shine. That's easily 5k employees right there...

  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2017 @11:18AM (#54883129)
    So if Ive has been busy designing the HQ, does that explain why there hasn't been any new radically new designs of Apple stuff for a while?
  • by nicolaiplum ( 169077 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2017 @11:59AM (#54883603)

    "sliding-glass doors on the soundproof offices"

    No noisy open plan place where they expect me to concentrate on hacking code?

    Sign me up!

    • When Apple was really being inventive, they had two people to an office, floor-to-ceiling whiteboards, and tie-on-the-doorknob was respected.

  • https://www.wired.com/2017/05/... [wired.com] was an interesting long read about Apple Park's design.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 26, 2017 @06:54PM (#54887529)

    ... but it's going to be a nightmare to work in. The huge open-plan offices are presumably ideal for top-level managers who schmooze around all day having those "water-cooler" conversations. For the rest of us who actually have to get the work done, it's going to suck.

    Look, I get it, there's something to be said for collaboration in an open non-structured way. There's also a *lot* to be said for the actual hard work of software engineering that takes (gasp!) *concentration* - modelling that complicated entity-diagram in your head and figuring out how all the parts interact. And then someone coughs, or laughs out loud, or just walks by talking to someone else, or ... ad nauseum.

    Then there's the insult factor. These coditauriums are laid out as a series of 4' desks all next to each other, barely large enough for someone to sit at, let alone have the paraphernalia of a working environment on - you know, the real work where your manager wants you to do three things at once. The last time I sat in rows of desks like this was at school. That was a long time ago, and it wasn't pleasant then. It was a stark reminder of your status in the collective, with the managers now getting offices and all the rest of us lined up ready to be yelled at.

    The lack of any personal space (hell, even a cube!) is debilitating and demeaning. All that's missing is an EPM armed with a whip walking up and down the aisles screaming 'CODE, you bastards. CODE!' and we'll be back amongst the wage-slaves once again. Back where Mr Ive presumably thinks we belong.

    I'm going to give it a go, just to see if it's as truly awful as it looks to be. And if it is (and I expect it to be) I'll find a job elsewhere; I'm not sure that's what Apple wanted from this "ooh shiny" new building. I've given a lot of my life to Apple, and it's pretty sickening to see how they treat us in the name of increased-density workspaces. For fucks sake, not even a cube?

     

    • by fggt ( 4735199 )
      I'm genuinely intrigued by this. I don't blame Jony for not being aware of what constitutes a sub-optimal programming environment (although it does seem a bit odd for someone who works in tech). What's staggers me is, as a designer, did he conduct *any* usability research before sinking so much money into this project? Pilot studies? Multivariate testing?
  • Danger, Will Robinson!

    What follows is a meteor shower of post-historical Chicago Manual compound-modifier satirical punctuation.

    Configure ears in the upright, locked position, and proceed on impulse power only.
    ___

    A section of workspace in the circular, Norman Foster -- designed building is finally move-in-ready

    I'm pretty sure a fullname–verb ndash is properly ASCII-rendered as Norman_Foster-designed.

    This could have been one of the best double-pips ever, if our submitter were irony-enabled about Slashd

    • by epine ( 68316 )

      Missed a trick, being too accustomed to almost making myself comprehensible.

      What follows is a post-historical Chicago Manual compound-modifier satirical-punctuation meteor shower.

      I'm so ashamed. It would have served as the perfect foil for my subsequent riff about withholding the verb for too long.

      Actually, the problem here is that the context is cold. It would be perfect in this more extreme form after warming the reader up with some sentences thoroughly stilted in the other direction. But in this piece

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