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iPhone designer to give Airbnb a makeover

James Titcomb
·2-min read
Sir Jony Ive - Reuters
Sir Jony Ive - Reuters

Sir Jony Ive, the British designer behind the iPod and iPhone, has joined Airbnb as a consultant, his first major project since leaving Apple last year.

Airbnb announced that Sir Jony’s company, LoveFrom, would work with the short-term rental service in a “multi-year relationship” to design new products and services.

Sir Jony left Apple last year after 27 years in which he was the design chief behind some of the company’s most iconic products and a close accomplice of Steve Jobs. He has continued to work with the iPhone maker since then, but Airbnb is his first public project outside the company.

He is a close acquaintance of Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky, whom he praised in 2015 for creating a “remarkable start-up”, and the two worked on a redesign of Airbnb’s logo in 2014. 

Angela Ahrendts, the former Apple retail chief, joined Airbnb’s board last year. Announcing the move, Mr Chesky said that Sir Jony would work on “the next generation of Airbnb products and services”. 

Profile | Sir Jonathan Ive (KBE)
Profile | Sir Jonathan Ive (KBE)

The company had been working on a range of initiatives including a loyalty programme and a system for booking air travel, but it shut down work on many of its more far-flung ideas as the coronavirus pandemic forced it to lay off a quarter of its workforce.

It has since recovered, and has filed for a US stock market flotation that could take place this year.

“Jony and I have been good friends for many years, and he has been gracious enough to provide me with guidance and advice,” Chesky wrote in an email to staff. “We share the same belief in the value and importance of creativity and design. We each believe not only in making objects and interfaces, but in crafting services and experiences.”