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  • Writer's pictureDale Wagler

February's Designers




This February, I’d like to post a little history of two influential Industrial Designers who were born this month; Arne Jacobsen, and Jony Ive. These two designers nearly bookend a century of industrial design, but their influence will likely live on for many decades to come. Arne Jacobsen was born on February 11, 1902 (died: March 24, 1971), in Copenhagen, Denmark. He grew up in a middle-class family and showed an early interest in art and design. After completing his education at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, he began working as an architect and industrial designer.

Jacobsen's personal life was marked by both success and tragedy. He was married to his second wife, Jonna, for over 40 years and had two children with her. However, he also suffered several personal losses, including the death of his first wife, Lili, in 1949. He later married Jonna, who was his partner until his death in 1971.

Despite these personal struggles, Jacobsen's career continued to flourish. He was awarded numerous honors and accolades for his work, including the prestigious C.F. Hansen Medal in 1955 and the International Design Award in 1968.

In addition to his work as an architect and industrial designer, Jacobsen was also an accomplished painter and sculptor. His artistic pursuits helped to inform his design work and gave him a unique perspective on the creative process. Jacobsen's personal life and experiences undoubtedly shaped his approach to design. His focus on simplicity, functionality, and practicality can be seen as a reflection of his Danish upbringing and his own personal values. His legacy as one of the most important designers of the 20th century continues to inspire and influence designers today. Arne Jacobsen is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential industrial designers of the 20th century. His work in the field of industrial design spans a broad range of areas, including furniture, lighting, architecture, and even textiles. His contributions to the field have helped to shape the way we think about design today.

One of Jacobsen's most important contributions to industrial design is his focus on creating functional, practical objects that are also visually striking. He believed that good design should be both beautiful and useful, and his work reflects this philosophy. Many of his most famous designs, such as the Egg Chair and the Swan Chair, are both aesthetically pleasing and incredibly comfortable to sit in. Jacobsen's work also reflects a deep understanding of the materials and manufacturing processes used in industrial design. He was known for his use of modern materials like steel and plastic, and his designs often incorporated innovative manufacturing techniques. This focus on materials and manufacturing helped to pave the way for future industrial designers to explore new possibilities in their work.

Another important aspect of Jacobsen's work is his focus on simplicity and minimalism. He believed that good design should be clean, uncluttered, and free from unnecessary ornamentation. His designs often feature simple, geometric shapes and a limited color palette, creating a sense of harmony and order.

Jacobsen's impact on the field of industrial design is perhaps best seen in his architecture. He was responsible for designing some of the most iconic buildings of the mid-20th century, including the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen and the St. Catherine's College in Oxford. His buildings are characterized by their simple, elegant lines and use of modern materials like steel and glass. They are often considered to be some of the most important examples of mid-century modern architecture. Overall, Arne Jacobsen's contributions to the field of industrial design are immeasurable. His focus on functionality, materials, and simplicity helped to shape the way we think about design today. His influence can be seen in everything from furniture and lighting to architecture and textiles. His legacy continues to inspire designers around the world to create beautiful, functional objects that improve our lives in meaningful ways. Sir Jonathan Paul Ive, aka. “Jony” Ive (born: February 27, 1967) is one of the most influential industrial designers of our time. He is widely known for his work at Apple Inc. where he served as the Chief Design Officer for more than two decades. Jony Ive was born in London in 1967, and he studied design at Newcastle Polytechnic. After graduating in 1989, he joined Apple and started working on various design projects, quickly becoming one of the most important designers at the company. He is mostly noted for his contributions to the field in the design of Apple's products. He was instrumental in the creation of many of the company's iconic products, including the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Ive's design philosophy was to create products that were both beautiful and functional. He believed that the best products were those that seamlessly integrated technology with everyday life, making it easy for people to use them.

Ive's approach to design was heavily influenced by his mentor, designer Dieter Rams, who worked for the German electronics company Braun. Rams' minimalist and functional design philosophy was a major influence on Ive's work, and he strove to create products that were both aesthetically pleasing and practical. There are several nods to Dieter Rams and Braun design throughout the Apple products Ive worked on.

His contributions to industrial design go far beyond his work at Apple. He has won numerous awards for his designs, including the Design Museum's Designer of the Year award in 2003 and 2012. He was also awarded a knighthood in 2012 for his services to design and innovation. In addition to his work at Apple, Ive has been involved in various philanthropic efforts. He has worked with the Product (RED) campaign, which raises money to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria in Africa. He has also been involved in the development of a new campus for the California College of the Arts, which will include a new building designed by Ive and his team. Jony Ive's contributions to industrial design have been incredibly important. His designs have revolutionized the tech industry and have influenced countless designers around the world. Ive's legacy is one of innovation, creativity, and a commitment to creating products that are both beautiful and practical. He has truly left his mark on the field of industrial design, and his work will continue to be celebrated for many years to come.


While Ive's designs are often characterized by their minimalist and sleek appearance, Jacobsen's designs tended to be more ornate and decorative, with a focus on curvilinear shapes and organic forms. However, both designers shared a commitment to creating products that were both functional and beautiful, and both were known for their attention to detail and their ability to create cohesive design systems. Additionally, both Ive and Jacobsen were influential in their respective fields and have left lasting legacies that continue to shape the world of design today. So this February, take a moment to consider the influence these two designers have had on the products of the 20th century and beyond. With this post I offer my own attempt to honor the memory and legacy of the late Arne Jacobsen in the month of his birth, and to wish a very happy birthday to Mr. Ive.

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