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Apple’s former design guru Jony Ive gets into bed with Airbnb

The man who helped design some of Apple’s most iconic products is teaming up with online accommodation service Airbnb.

Jony Ive, the tech giant’s former head of design who created the unique look of everything from the iPhone and Apple Watch to the iMac and MacBook, will work with Airbnb through his own, newly founded design firm, LoveFrom.

The partnership was announced by Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky on Wednesday, October 21.

“Today, I’m thrilled to announce that Jony and his partners at LoveFrom will be engaging in a special collaboration with me and the Airbnb team,” Chesky said in a blog post. “We have made the decision to work together through a multiyear relationship to design the next generation of Airbnb products and services.”

Details as to the kinds of products and services that Ive will be working on are scant, but knowing that the Brit also helped to design Apple’s striking “spaceship” campus, as well as its uniquely styled retail stores, could he be about to help the accommodation service create its own line of opulent rental offerings? Or will he just tweak the website?

The Airbnb boss also said Ive will help Airbnb to “continue to develop our internal design team,” so it could be that rather than create any kind of physical product, Ive’s input will be more as a consultant.

Chesky added that he and Ive “have been good friends for many years,” with the former Apple design chief “gracious enough to provide me with guidance and advice.” In 2015, Ive wrote a piece for Time magazine in which he praised Airbnb as “a remarkable startup” and lauded Chesky, who majored in industrial design at Rhode Island School of Design, for his “obsession with detail.”

Airbnb’s global business, like others in the travel industry, has suffered terribly during the coronavirus pandemic, with revenue this year expected to be less than half of what it was in 2019. In May, the company announced it was laying off 1,900 employees, equal to about 25% of its workforce. More recently, however, reports pointed to an increase in rural rentals as people seek quieter spaces and a change of scenery during the ongoing pandemic.

Ive departed Apple in 2019 to set up LoveFrom, which works with like-minded designers, architects, musicians, and other creatives. Apple is among its clients.

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