On 23 November, international auction house Sotheby’s will auction off 40 icons of design that have been carefully selected by Apple’s senior vice-president of design, Sir Jonathan Ive, and acclaimed Australian industrial designer, Marc Newson. The pair customised the objects themselves, even designing two from scratch – a Leica digital rangefinder camera and a unique aluminium desk. The money raised will go towards musician Bono’s (RED)™ charity, which supports the Global Fund in its fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The (RED) charity was co-founded in 2006 by Bono to engage people in the fight against AIDS. To date, it has generated $215 million for the Global Fund, which has supported more than 14 million people in Africa. The (RED) auction in November follows the huge success of the first auction, which was curated by the artist Damien Hirst in February 2008 and raised over $40 million.

“The (RED) sale of 2008 provided the benchmark for auctions of this nature and once again we will be presenting a unique collaboration; this time with the dream-team of Sir Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire objects of singular design excellence and innovation, and simultaneously raise much-needed funds for the fight against AIDS,” says Oliver Barker, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and the auctioneer for both the 2008 and upcoming (RED) auction.

The collection, which took Ive and Newson a year and a half to curate, includes over 40 unique and customised objects, including a pair of solid rose gold Apple EarPods, a Steinway & Sons Parlor Grand Piano, a 2012 Range Rover, a unique version of Hermès’ iconic Cavale saddle created in red leather with custom red stitching, a Russian cosmonaut suit, and a Dom Pérignon Oenothèque 1966 Magnum with custom red foil label.

“It’s been a thrilling journey for Jony and me to curate this collection of pieces that celebrate extraordinary design that we love, that transcends all boundaries of time and place. These objects were each conceived to resolve a singularly focused challenge, yet have subsequently achieved a cultural significance that’s above and beyond their initial functionality. Each object and the process of creating it conveys a rich set of human values, so it seems fitting that they should be auctioned with a different sense of human value in mind, to raise as much as possible to help people’s lives today,” says Newson.

“It’s been a fantastic honour to curate this collection of objects with Marc for the auction at Sotheby’s,” adds Ive. “Each piece represents the value of thoughtful design. What we create for each other is not only a comment on our culture but of course in many ways defines it. (RED) is making a difference in the lives of millions of people and we’re humbled to make this contribution to such an important and worthy cause.”

Leading the auction are two items that have been designed from the ground up by Newson and Ive. The first is the Leica digital rangefinder camera. The development process, which included hundreds of models and prototypes, has resulted in a unique product machined from a custom engineered alloy.

“With nearly 1000 prototype parts and more than 725 hours of manufacturing time, the winning bidder will own a piece of exquisite imaging history. The attention to each and every detail of this camera – from its outer shell to the magnificent optics – will delight a collector who appreciates the absolute pinnacle of craftsmanship,” comments Newson.

Their second object is a unique desk, the production of which was donated by the Neal Feay Studio. With its anodised finish, the desk has been precision machined and includes 100 individually crafted tiles that form its top.

“When Jony and I set out to design this piece, we challenged ourselves to create something beyond the realms of expectation,” says Newson. “The Neal Feay team has worked tirelessly to bring this one-off piece to life.”

Items from the collection will travel to London and Hong Kong before going on public exhibition in New York on 18 November ahead of the auction on 23 November.


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