Famed German Designer Richard Sapper Passed On Steve Jobs’ Offer To Work At Apple

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs


Upon launching a new website showcasing decades of his iconic design work, German industrial designer Richard Sapper revealed some never before told stories of his early career to Dezeen Magazine, including when Steve Jobs offered him a prominent position at Apple.

Sapper got his start at Daimler Benz in Stuttgart as a designer in the stylist department, and later opened his own studio in Milan to produceTizio lamp some of the most forward thinking designs of his generation.  Some of his most recognizable work includes the radio TS502, which was a compact radio in the shape of a box that unfolded to reveal a speaker and controls, and the Tizio lamp, which went on to become one of the best-selling lamps in history.  With his out-of-the-box ideas, it shouldn’t come to much of a surprise that a company like Apple, known for such thinking, wanted Sapper on board.

In the interview with Dezeen, Richard Sapper revealed the time when Steve Jobs had contacting him to offer a position at the company before the iPod or iPhone ever existed:

Jobs once wanted to hire me to do the design of Apple [computers] but the circumstances weren’t right because I didn’t want to move to California and I had very interesting work here that I didn’t want to abandon. Also, at that time Apple was not a great company, it was just a small computer company. They were doing interesting things so I was very interested, of course, but I had an exclusivity contract with IBM.”

When asked if he regretted turning down the job, Sapper’s response was, “Sure I regret it – the man who then did it makes $30 million a year!”

The man Apple eventually hired was Jonathan Ive, who is recognized as the design genius behind Apple’s most famous products.  While Ive may be British, his design inspiration is very much German.  Just about all of his product designs have elements that can be traced back to classic Braun products.


Sources: Dezeen Magazine
Photos: Richard Sapper Design

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Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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