For all Yves Behar’s success as a designer, there’s no obvious Behar design signature — no figure or shape that repeats across his designs, no Designed by Yves lettering stamped into the plastic. Joseph Rosa, who curated Behar’s 2004 show at SF MOMA and is now director of the University of Michigan Museum of Art, says Behar’s designs are linked by “a quality of thinking.” As he put together the exhibition, Rosa was impressed by the way Behar brought together so many disparate partners in his work: people who worked in plastics, and furniture, and fashion. “He made these relationships to make the work take place,” Rosa says. “The older generation said, ‘I’m a designer, here’s a design, you figure out how to make it.’ Yves would figure out how to make it and then go find them the manufacturers to do it.”
Nicholas Negroponte chose Behar as his designer for the One Laptop Per Child project, which offers inexpensive laptops and tablets to children in developing countries. He says of Behar: “It is easy to imagine his place in history as the bridge between objects and behaviors, elegance and wit, well beyond form and function.” Here are a few of our favorite Behar designs.
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- Jawbone, Jambox Introduced in 2010, the deceptively simple Jawbone Jambox launched the wireless speaker market.
- Puma, Clever Little Bag Created from non-woven polyester and cardboard, the Clever Little Bag is easily recyclable. Manufacturing of the Clever Little Bag, as opposed to traditional packaging, reduced water and energy consumption by more than 60 percent yearly.
- One Laptop per Child, XO Laptop The rugged, economic, and aesthetically friendly XO laptop was designed to be distributed as a low-cost educational tool for children across the world. More than 2 million have been produced.
- Issey Miyake, Vue Watch The Vue watch is as much an aesthetically pleasing timepiece as it is a commentary on the nature of time: the passing hours fade from the watch’s face, never to return.
- SodaStream, Play Behar’s design of the SodaStream Play simplified the original design.
- Augen Optics, Ver Bien Designed in partnership with the Mexican government as part of an initiative to provide durable eyewear for students who can’t afford glasses, the Ver Bien design incorporates flexible Grilamid plastic.
- Nivea, Brand Identity Behar’s Fuseproject lab reimagined the Nivea logo, using the company’s iconic blue tin containers as inspiration. Redesigned packaging also reduced weight and material use, creating a more environmentally friendly product.
- The Gates Foundation and Wired Magazine, Kernel Tasked with creating a remote health-care diagnostic device, Behar’s fuseprojects created Kernel, a palm-sized amulet that can read blood, saliva, urine, and breath and transmit data back to a medical center.
- Jawbone, Up Behar’s Up wristband tracks sleeping, eating, exercise, and activity patterns on a daily basis and offers tips for healthier living.
- Herman Miller, Sayl Chair Using the same concept behind suspension bridges, the Sayl Chair is frameless, offering airy, flexible support.
- Game Golf Behar brought his penchant for metrics to golf with Game Golf, a discrete system that uses sensors embedded in the club to shed statistical light on a player’s every shot.
- August Smart Lock Behar’s August design revamps standard door locks, converting them into digital portals you can control remotely from smartphones and laptops.
- OLPC Tablet One Laptop per Child, Tablet: Much like the XO Laptop, the tablet offers a cheaper, sturdier solution for students in developing countries.
- PayPal, Brand Identity Earlier this year, PayPal introduced a new, more compact Behar-designed logo. “It’s time for things to be more compact,” Behar said in an interview about the redesign.
- Mark One, Vessyl Behar offered an understated design for a product — a cup that can detect its contents — that took seven years and cost tens of millions of dollars to produce.
- Herman Miller, Public Office Landscape Inspired by the power of collaboration, the Public Office Landscape reinvents office furniture as a space for interaction and dialogue.