Steve Jobs: The Most Important Patron of Design Of This Century

I was going to write about how important Steve Jobs was to the world of design, how he was this generation's Dieter Rams.

But Cliff Kuang at Fast Company notes correctly that Jobs is neither a designer nor an engineer. He writes:

Steve Jobs may not be the greatest technologist or engineer of his generation. But he is perhaps the greatest user of technology to ever live, and it was Apple's great fortune that he also happened to be the company's founder.

But I think Jobs is more than just the best user of design, he is the classic patron. He knows what he wants and hires the best, often counter to conventional wisdom.

Unsentimentally, he knocked down an historic mansion to replace it with a very modern, relatively modest modern home by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, who also designed the iconic Apple stores.

Counter to all prevailing architectural urbanist trends that call for connection to community, he hires Lord Foster to design a spaceship in a fenced private park.

When everyone laughed and said bricks-and-mortar retail was dead and that he would be alienating his distribution channels and would be closed in three years, he reinvented retail in the Apple stores.

Jobs is probably the most important patron of the art of design since Peggy Guggenheim. That will be the tough act to follow.

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