Watch designers creating prototypes in Apple’s studios

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Apple yesterday announced a $300 coffee table photo book, titled “Designed by Apple in California”, which chronicles 20 years of iconic product designs. Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, discussed the photo book with and Japanese design firm Casa Brutus.

The Casa Brutus interview is accompanied by a rare video which offers a unique glimpse into Apple’s secretive Industrial Design Studio, showing designers at work creating prototypes of Macs, iPhones and other items.

Want to take a peek at how the sausage is made? This is your chance!

The Jony Ive-narrated clip explains how Apple’s designers nurture ideas.

One of the things that we’ve learned is the importance of listening. Because as we all know, the very best ideas can very often come from the quietest voice. Ideas are extremely fragile. Ideas are not predictable in terms of when you’ll have them and how many you are going to have.

And so over the years, we’ve really created at team and an environment that I think really increases the probability of good ideas and when they actually arrive I think nurtures them.

And here’s the video.

The opening shot of Highway 280, running between San Francisco and Cupertino, where Apple is headquartered, is there for a reason: Ive wrecked his Aston Martin a few years back driving home on the 280.

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More important than that, the footage shows off Apple’s expensive prototyping machinery and designers who can be seen pouring over product prototypes and sketching future product ideas. For those wondering, they prefer hardbound Cachet sketchbooks by Daler-Rowney, a small U.K. company.

Other scenes show designers using workstations equipped with iMacs and Mac Pros.

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In addition the expensive CNC milling machines, we see a well-equipped shop where prototypes are being built, product presentation tables, the CAD room where they create 3D models of prototypes, the so-called “dirty shop” sealed behind glass, the workshop, the paint spraying booth, the color studio and more.

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Apple’s tight-knit design shop counts about two-dozen employees. “We’re a small design team who have worked together for 20, 25 years,” Ive says in the video.

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One of the scenes shows veteran Apple designers Peter Russell-Clarke and Daniele de Iuliis checking out the parts of a unibody MacBook, as well as Richard Howarth who was named the new head of the Industrial Design Studio after Ive got promoted to Chief Design Officer.

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Fun fact: nearly all of the chairs in the design studio are Supporto Chairs from a British company called Hille International. Hungry for more? Check out last year’s 60 Minute episode that went inside Ive’s design bunker at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters.

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“This archive is intended to be a gentle gathering of many of the products the team has designed over the years”, Ive said of the new photo book.

“We hope it brings some understanding to how and why they exist, while serving as a resource for students of all design disciplines.”

For those interested, Apple’s product design photo book is now available to purchase through Apple․com in Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The book is priced at $199 for the small version (10.20″ x 12.75″) and $299 for the larger variant (13″ x 16.25″). Both sizes ship in one business day.

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Some folks are balking at these prices, but this is no ordinary “book”.

In case you didn’t know, high-end coffee table books cost hundreds of dollars. The James Bond Archives photo book from Taschen is a $200 value while the collector’s edition version of The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” originally sold for a whopping $1,250.

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As Brian Fagioli of BetaNews put it succinctly, this is not some book you will bring into the bathroom to read on the toilet.

“It is intended to be a collectible piece of art,” he wrote. “You don’t evaluate the value of a Picasso painting by adding up the cost of the ink and canvas. This is a collection of Andrew Zuckerman photographs meant to be appreciated beyond raw materials.”

If you think $200 is too high a price to pay for Apple’s book, you probably haven’t bought a photo book before. Besides, how much is your average college textbook?

Source: Casa Brutus