Jony Ive Talks Apple Park, Scoffs at Claim of New Campus Contributing to Local Tree Shortage

The Wall Street Journal has shared a lengthy interview with Apple design chief Jony Ive about Apple Park, the company's new headquarters in Cupertino, California, revealing a few new anecdotes about the all-new campus and the exhaustive architectural process that has went into constructing it.


Ive, for instance, reportedly scoffed at a recent article claiming Apple Park has contributed to a tree shortage in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ive takes offense at the idea that he hasn’t already thought of every detail during the years of planning Apple Park. He scoffs at an article claiming that Apple contributed to a tree shortage in the Bay Area by buying up so many plants for the campus, “as if we’d got to the end of our project and we thought, Oh, we’d better plant some trees.” Apple began working with an arborist years ago to source trees, including varieties that once made up the bountiful orchards of Silicon Valley; more than 9,000, many of them drought-resistant, will have been planted by the time the campus is finished.
The report also mentions that Ive's design team will be among the last to move into the new headquarters this fall. Employees began moving over from Apple's existing Infinite Loop campus in April, and when the transition is completed, the spaceship-like campus will reportedly house some 12,000 workers.

Apple Park's fourth floor is where the company's executives will be situated, including Ive's design studio, along with the Apple Watch team and part of the group working on Siri, according to the report. Apple's Mac and iPad divisions will be interspersed with software teams on the middle levels, it adds.

Apple Park has open workspaces with desks that can be raised to standing level at the push of a button (Image: WSJ)

Apple Park's main cafeteria, which will reportedly serve some 14,000 lunches a day, is a four-level atrium with massive 440,000-pound glass doors. Apple employees have to pay for food, but at a somewhat subsidized rate, the report said. For perspective, some tech companies like Google offer entirely free meals.

Outside, the green space within Apple Park's inner circle will play host to Apple's iconic "beer bashes" on Friday afternoons, which often include featured performances. Here, more than 9,000 trees, many of them drought-resistant, will supposedly have been planted by the time the campus is finished.

Some of the trees will be regularly harvested to provide fruit for the campus kitchen, according to the report.

The Wall Street Journal's complete interview is a worthwhile read for those interested in learning more about Apple Park. A handful of drone operators have also been filming monthly videos that provide a closer look at the new headquarters and its surrounding facilities throughout the construction phase.


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Apple Design Chief Jony Ive Appointed Chancellor of London’s Royal College of Art

Chief Apple designer Jony Ive has been appointed chancellor of London's Royal College of Art (RCA), it was announced on Thursday. Ive is set to take up the role in July and will replace British engineer Sir James Dyson, who has been provost of RCA since 2011.

"I am thrilled to formalise my relationship with the RCA, given the profound influence the college has had on so many of the artists and designers that I admire," Ive said in a statement.

"Our design team includes many RCA alumni, who embody the fundamental values of the college. I look forward to advising both the college and students, hoping that my experience proves useful in their work."
In his unpaid five-year term as head of the college, Ive will preside over meetings and help to govern RCA, which in 2017 was ranked the world's best institution for art and design for the third year in a row by QS University World Rankings.

"We are delighted to welcome Sir Jony Ive as our new chancellor," said Paul Thompson, RCA's rector. "It is a great honor to be joined by the world's leading designer of his generation, who has produced consistently innovative and commercially successful technology and design."

The designer of the iMac, iPod, and iPhone received an honorary doctorate from the RCA in 2009. Ive also holds honorary doctorates from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and has received several other accolades from leading British institutions.

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Jony Ive Said to Be ‘As Connected to Product Design as Ever’ Following Speculation About His Role

jony_iveOver the last few days, speculation has begun brewing over the potential winding down of Jony Ive's career at Apple, where he works as the company's chief design officer.

During an episode of "The Talk Show" podcast posted last Friday, John Gruber mentioned that he had recently heard Ive has been "checked out or not as directly involved with product design" at Apple, and instead focused on architecture projects for its campuses and retail locations.

Earlier this week, a couple of websites began sharing Gruber's words in stories angled with Ive's lessening involvement at Apple, backed up by the recent release of "Designed by Apple in California," which many look at as the designer's swan song within the company.

Rumors of Ive being "on his way out" of Apple have existed for a while, however, going back to his promotion to chief design officer last year. The position was described as allowing Ive to focus less on management and more on design, or as Gruber said, "the skeptic’s take is that this new arrangement allows Ive to be less involved, period."

Following all of this, Gruber yesterday posted a new blog to clear up his original statement. He reiterated on the second and third-hand sources speaking of Ive's status in the company, stating that no one has directly mentioned Ive has stopped overseeing Apple's day-to-day product design, but what he's heard is from sources who "think" he has. After addressing the nuance he meant to convey during his podcast, Gruber admitted that he's in fact heard from "well-placed sources within Apple" that Ive is as devoted and involved as ever.
Importantly, I’ve also heard from well-placed sources within Apple that there is nothing to this — that while Ive is devoting much of his time and attention to architecture recently (both for the new campus and Apple retail), every aspect of every new product remains as much under his watchful eye as ever. That his chief design officer title isn’t the least bit ceremonial, and instead is an accurate representation of his increased authority.

When I first started seeing these “Gruber thinks Jony Ive is on his way out” stories, I was appalled. It felt like a punch to the gut, because it wasn’t what I meant to convey, and I realize how influential my word is in such regards. But perhaps it was worth it. It shook a few well-placed little birdies out of the tree, all of whom emphasized that Jony Ive is as connected to product design as ever.
Gruber ultimately bet that Ive is "not going anywhere," because the arguments that state the designer is leaving Apple must also argue that he is giving up being a designer altogether, and "that doesn't sound right" to him. Addressing the recently released design book -- which covers all of Ive's history with Apple -- Gruber also mentioned that while it could be construed as a goodbye to Apple, "it feels to me like Ive's heartfelt goodbye to his best friend and colleague, five years gone. I don't think Jony Ive is going anywhere."

Check out the full blog post on Daring Fireball.

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