Sir Jonathan Ive to Receive Prestigious Bay Area Treasure Award

Nineteen ninety-nine was a year fraught with anxiety about technology.

That year’s blockbuster, “The Matrix,” presented a horrific vision of a planet dominated by machine overlords. Computer code was viewed with suspicion, with new talk of malicious viruses an exotic idea to most at the time. People worried that the “Y2K bug,” a glitch in programming, would bring the very downfall of civilization precisely at the stroke of midnight, January 1, 2000.

Fifteen Years of Innovation: the multi-colored iMac G3s in January 1999, The iPhone 6 in September 2014

But amidst those dark concerns, consumers across the country were delighting themselves with a candy colored array of computers just recently launched by Apple.

The iMac G3 was a translucent wonder of design that came in 13 yummy “flavors.” Apple’s easy, family friendly computers in tangerine, strawberry and lime, quelled fears that a dark dystopian Matrix was lurking beyond the crackling modem lines.

So it was that civilization transitioned from one millennium to the next without incident — the Y2K bug didn’t “switch off even a single light bulb,” (to steal a line from “Star Trek: Voyager.”) And with its exuberant new line line of computers, Apple was saved from bankruptcy, its success heralding a new age of optimism, innovation and enjoyment with technology. Soon would come iTunes, followed by the iPod, leading to the iPhone and the iPad, and what’s next is yet to be imagined.

Now, just over 15 years later, the man who designed the iMac G3 in 1998 and who has led so many design innovations since, Sir Jonathan Ive, is being lauded as one of the great artists of our time. On October 30, 2014, he will receive the prestigious “Bay Area Treasure Award” from SFMOMA’s Modern Art Council, an honor which, interestingly enough, was founded in 1999, just as Ive was starting his journey. The annual lifetime achievement award recognizes artists and creative leaders whose contributions have redefined contemporary visual culture. Last year, George Lucas was the recipient.

jonathan ive
Sir Jonathan Ive at Paul Smith

I recently attended a cocktail party at the Paul Smith boutique in anticipation of the awards dinner. Sir Jonathan was at the event, as well as SFMOMA supporters, and the museum’s director, Neal Benezra.

“Ive is our generation’s most innovative and influential figure in the field of industrial design. No other design mind has done more to transform the way we visualize and share information,” said Benezra, pointing out that SFMOMA was the first museum on the West Coast to establish a department of architecture and design. “We’re thrilled to celebrate Ive’s revolutionary achievements.”

The award will be given at a presentation and dinner on Thursday, October 30, 2014, held at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco. The evening is chaired by MAC member Maria Tenaglia Watson and will feature Ive in conversation with SFMOMA Curator of Architecture and Design Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher.

Tickets range from $400 to $1,250. You can visit sfmoma.org/bat for more information.

The dinner is sponsored by Ferrari of San Francisco and Paul Smith, with Wells Fargo as the supporting sponsor. Martin Ray Winery is the wine sponsor, and Jennifer and Courtney Benham are the champagne sponsors.

With an event committee comprised of event chair Maria Tenaglia Watson, MAC president Candace Cavanaugh, and Afsaneh Akhtari, Jennifer Benham, Florence Buatois, Penelope Blair, Courtney Dallaire, Robin Eber,Yvette Esserman, Shelley Gordon, Marilyn Hayes, Sheila Larsen, Betsy Linder, Charlot Malin, Nathalie Delrue-McGuire, Denise Nathanson, Jacqueline Sacks, Claire Slaymaker, Christine Suppes, Joni Binder Shwarts, Toni Wolfson, Victoria Yeager, and Micaela Van Zwoll, it is sure to be a marvelous evening!

To reserve tickets or for more information, contact the Modern Art Council at 415.357.4125 or mac@sfmoma.org

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