Airbnb hires former Apple design chief Jony Ive

Airbnb has hired former Apple design chief Jony Ive to work on showcasing the homesharing platform’s forthcoming products, the company announced Wednesday.

Airbnb Co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky:

Jonathan Ive
Jonathan Ive
Since the beginning, design has been at the core of everything we do. Joe and I studied industrial design together at RISD, and we were taught that design is more than the way something looks – it’s how something fundamentally works. We brought this design-driven approach to Airbnb. From the design of our original business model, to our system of trust, to the creation of new products and offerings, we approach many of our decisions as design problems.

One of the designers who Joe and I have most admired is Jony Ive, the former Chief Design Officer at Apple. Over a year ago, Jony formed a new company called LoveFrom as a collection of creatives that include designers, architects, musicians, writers, engineers, and artists.

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.

I hope all of this speaks to the seriousness of our design-driven approach. We believe that working together will be an important and powerful creative partnership. We’re both excited about the ideas we already have, as well as ideas that are currently beyond our imagination.

MacDailyNews Take: Good to know that Jony won’t be going hungry.


  1. Maybe he’ll design some tiny flat rooms that you can barely squeeze into? And no messy power plugs to ruin the sleek lines of the walls? Maybe he’ll blow more than double his budget just trying to get the colours of the window glass just right?

  2. Apparently, just having “Air” in the business name was too hard for Jony to resist. In contract negotiations, the CEO had to confirm with Jony that not everything was to be made thin. He then went on to discuss their huge business losses because of Covid and sought Jony’s word he’d have no part in making them asset-thinner. Sluggishly, Jony conceded.

  3. I’ll tell you what, Airbnb’s business model has no appeal to me. In my life I’ve spent time in someone’s “vacation” condo home 3 times. Each time I was part of a larger group and the condos rented by others. Each time the condo was designed to mostly be a short term rental. However, each time it made my skin crawl to realize that I was in someone else’s home.

    I would never rent out my home on a nightly basis. If I knew my neighbors were renting out on a nightly basis, I’d complain to the zoning board. If I lived in an apartment building that was happening, I wouldn’t put up with it. Under no circumstances would I rent a place for a few nights by myself from airbnb. Homes are not hotels.

  4. I can only imagine that Jony will try to convince Airbnb to do their own version of the “Capsule Hotels” that are in Tokyo. But then, even those might not be thin enough or light enough for Jony.

  5. Jony’s new business focus after he left Apple was LoveFrom. Apparently, the business had struggles from the beginning because customers visiting the business expecting “relationship products,” were surprised to find furniture, dishes and other “high-design” (and thin) home products.

    Jony later admitted not following design school fundamentals, learned years before, about naming conventions…the name should quickly, clearly and comprehensively tell the story. With regret, he conceded “LoveFoam” is an easy quick-glance perception.

    He went on to say he made billions at Apple and a “job loss” is no big deal. Out of the blue, he asked the interviewer, “do you know I was Knighted by the Queen?” The interviewer seemed to mutter, “wtf,” coupled with a sigh and walked away.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.