On Thursday, October 30, 2014, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) drew more than 400 supporters of art and design to the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco for an award dinner to celebrate Apple Senior Vice President of Design Jonathan Ive, recipient of the museum’s 15th annual Bay Area Treasure Award. Hosted by SFMOMA’s Modern Art Council (MAC), the museum’s premier fund-raising auxiliary, this annual lifetime-achievement award recognizes Bay Area–based artists, designers, and creative leaders who have redefined contemporary visual culture. Proceeds from the event support SFMOMA’s exhibitions and innovative education programs.
This year’s gala dinner was helmed by Event Chair Maria Tenaglia Watson and sold out in record time, bringing together long-standing and new museum patrons to fete the San Francisco–based honoree, who is the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple products.
“Ive is one of our generation’s most innovative and influential designers,” said SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra as he welcomed the crowd. “No other design mind has done more to transform our relationship to technology, and the museum is thrilled to celebrate his revolutionary accomplishments.”
SFMOMA was the first museum on the West Coast to establish a formal department of architecture and design and has been at the forefront of collecting design as it intersects with technology, building a stellar collection of industrial design objects originating from Northern California’s innovative tech sector. As tech-product design shifts focus to the experience as well as the object—e.g., live maps and other software integrated products—a number of new concerns have emerged for museums collecting high-tech design, including the hardware/software divide, rapid evolution of media, and limitations of traditional exhibition formats. SFMOMA currently holds nine works in its collection created under Ive’s design direction.
As part of a major conservation-based research project, The Artist Initiative, SFMOMA is currently engaged in a long-term investigation of how best to build, maintain, and interpret the museum’s collection of consumer electronics. The investigation is being conducted in dialogue with leading Bay Area–based designers, including Jonathan Ive and fellow design icon Yves Béhar, who attended the soiree with Sabrina Buell to help celebrate the man of the hour.
Among the many other distinguished guests were: SFMOMA Trustee Alka Agrawal and husband Ravin; Collin Burry (Gensler Design); MAC President Candace M. Cavanaugh and Mario Rodighiero; SFMOMA Trustee Dolly Chammas and husband George; Courtney and Seth Dallaire; Apple VP of Special Projects Paul Deneve; Mario Diaz (Wells Fargo); Sharon and Steve Edelman; SFMOMA Board President Bob Fisher and wife Randi; Mimi Haas; Mark Haldeman (Paul Smith); the honoree’s wife Heather Ive; Tito Jankowski; Stephan Jenkins (Third Eye Blind); Pamela and Richard Kramlich; Charlot and Greg Malin; Nion McEvoy; Jennifer Morla; Diana Nelson and John Atwater; Mary Pang; Shirley Parks; Gina and Stuart Peterson; Alison and Mark Pincus; Charles and Helen Schwab; Claire and Rob Slaymaker; Twitter co-founder Biz Stone; Norah and Norman Stone; Joan Stracquadanio; Deyan Sudjic (London Design Museum); Christine Suppes; Alexis and Trevor Traina; and Katie and Todd Traina, to name just a few.
Festivities began with a lively cocktail reception, where guests admired a display of photographs picturing Ive-designed products (selected by the honoree and arranged by the Apple design team), sipped bubbly by champagne sponsors Jennifer and Courtney Benham, and mingled to ’80s Brit pop selected by the DJ specifically for the London-born Ive.
As more guests arrived—stopping to admire a sleek Ferrari parked near the red carpet, courtesy of event sponsor Ferrari of San Francisco—the party moved into the ballroom for an exquisite dinner featuring wines by Martin Ray Winery. Ive took the stage for a conversation with SFMOMA Helen Hilton Raiser Associate Curator of Architecture and Design Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher and Frances Anderton, executive producer and host of KCRW’s DnA: Design and Architecture, delighting the crowd with stories of his early experiences in the business and personal musings on some of his favorite projects, including the Apple Watch.
Following the conversation, Maria Tenaglia Watson presented Ive with a framed placard containing a piece of the iconic granite lining the atrium of SFMOMA’s Mario Botta–designed building and a sample of the newly engineered cladding material developed for the museum’s Snøhetta-designed expansion project, currently under construction and slated for completion in 2016. The gift honored Ive’s reverence for materiality in his own work. MAC President Candace Cavanaugh offered her own heartfelt words of appreciation on behalf of the museum, and guests ended a perfect night with mingling in the dessert lounge, courtesy of Nespresso.
Event sponsors: SFMOMA’s 2014 Bay Area Treasure Award Dinner was sponsored by Ferrari of San Francisco and Paul Smith. The supporting sponsor was Wells Fargo. C Magazine was the media sponsor. Special thanks to wine sponsor Martin Ray Winery, and champagne sponsors Jennifer and Courtney Benham.
2014 Bay Area Treasure Award Event Committee: Afsaneh Akhtari, Jennifer Benham, Joni Binder Shwarts, Florence Buatois, Penelope Blair, Courtney C. Dallaire, Nathalie Delrue-McGuire, Robin Eber, Ivette Esserman, Heidi Gerpheide, Shelley Gordon, Lizelle Green, Marilyn Hayes, Sheila Larsen, Betsy Linder, Charlot Malin, Denise Nathanson, Beatrice Pang, Jacqueline Sacks, Lisa Sebastian, Claire Slaymaker, Christine Suppes, Micaëla van Zwoll, Toni Wolfson, and Victoria Yeager.
2014 Bay Area Treasure Award Honorary Committee: Dolly and George Chammas, Jean and James E. Douglas Jr., Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein, the Fisher family, Gensler Family Foundation, Mimi Haas, Mr. and Mrs. C. Richard Kramlich, Marissa Mayer and Zachary Bogue, Diana L. Nelson and John C. Atwater, Deborah and Kenneth Novack, Gina and Stuart Peterson, Jacqueline and David Sacks, Helen and Charles Schwab, Norah and Norman Stone, Christine Suppes, Barbara and Stephen Vermut, Gwynned Vitello and Juxtapoz magazine, and Maria Tenaglia Watson and Chris Watson.