In 2019, Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jony Ive announced that he was leaving the company to start his own design firm alongside longtime friend Marc Newson. His new design firm was called LoveFrom, a nod to a philosophy Ive learned from Steve Jobs.
Ive was largely responsible for Apple’s comeback in the late ’90s through its unmatched success that lasts today. He worked on some of Apple’s biggest hits, from its comeback that began with the iMac, to products including the iPod, iPhone, and Apple Watch. Once the shock of his departure settled, the question to design enthusiasts was, which company would be the first to hire the most desirable design firm in the world? Technically, the answer was Apple, since Ive has continued consulting for the company. But which other company?
Now we know. Airbnb announced that it has hired LoveFrom—making Airbnb the firm’s first new public client, as far as we can tell. The news arrived in a letter directly from Airbnb cofounder and CEO Brian Chesky:
…Jony and I have been good friends for many years, and he has been gracious enough to provide me with guidance and advice. 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. We’ve seen how design can facilitate trust and enable more human connection, something people are desperate for during an unprecedented time of loneliness and disconnection.
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. We have made the decision to work together through a multi-year relationship to design the next generation of Airbnb products and services. Jony will also help us continue to develop our internal design team, which he believes to be one of the world’s best. I know he is particularly excited about a relationship that will evolve to become a deep collaboration with our creative team…
The news couldn’t come at a more opportune time. In spite of the business challenges of COVID-19, which led Airbnb to lay off 25% of the company, Airbnb is still planning to go public in 2020. And it’s easy to imagine how Ive’s association with the brand could sweeten the deal to investors, let alone customers, of Airbnb.
We’ve reached out to Airbnb for comment, but we have not heard back at press time.