Jonathan Ive: "Fewer designers are interested in how things are made"

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"Fewer designers seem to be interested in how something is actually made" says Jonathan Ive

Designers are losing the understanding of the nature and potential of materials gained from creating things by hand, according to Apple's Jonathan Ive.

The chief design officer at Apple said that designers in all fields appear to be less interested in the handmade.

"Surprisingly fewer and fewer designers, regardless of their particular design discipline, seem to be interested in the detail of how something is actually made," said the British designer.

"With a father who is a fabulous craftsman, I was raised with the fundamental belief that it is only when you personally work with a material with your hands, that you come to understand its true nature, its characteristics, its attributes, and I think – very importantly – its potential."

Ive was speaking yesterday at the preview of the Manus x Machina exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, which Apple is sponsoring.

The show's focus is the convergence of fashion and technology, and explores how the hand (manus) and machine (machina) can be combined during the design process of both haute couture and ready-to-wear clothing.

Manus x Machina fashion exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ive was speaking at the preview of The Met's Manus x Machina exhibition, which features fashion designs made by both hand and machine

It includes over 170 garments by designers such as Iris van Herpen, Gareth Pugh, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld.

"In the design team at Apple, we do share similar preoccupations and goals with the designers whose work you will see here today," Ive said. "Many of us I think believe in the poetic possibilities of the machine, while in equal measure, we have tremendous respect and admiration for what is made by hand."

Ive has worked full-time at the tech giant since 1992 and is credited with creating some of the company's music popular designs, including the iPhone, iPod, iPad and MacBook Pro. He was promoted to the newly created role of chief design officer in May 2015, and had since launched products like the Apple Pencil.

The only way to maintain quality in both small and large-scale production, Ive said, is to pay exceptional attention to detail in each project.

"The most critical of all for me in this discussion is the notion of care," said Ive. "When something's made in the smallest volume – as a one-off couture piece – or in large quantities, deep care is critical to determine authentic, successful design and ultimately manufacture."

Manus x Machina opens to the public from 5 May to 14 August 2016.

Read the full transcript from Jonathan Ive's speech below: