San Francisco-based industrial designer Robert Brunner founded design firm Ammunition back in 2007 after spending many years working for other companies. After graduating from San Jose State University in 1981, he co-founded design consultancy company Lunar, which led to his time as the Director of Industrial Design at Apple, where he notoriously hired Jonathan Ive. After Apple, he became a partner at Pentagram until breaking out on his own in 2007, a leap that has materialized the designs of Beats by Dre, Polaroid Snap, Polaroid Cube, Leeo Smart Alert, Savant, Adobe Ink & Slide, and most recently, the MI Guitar. For his Friday Five, Brunner was challenged to pick just five things to highlight, so he chose to look back at some inspirational designs that influenced him over the years. Ammunition recently won a Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for product design.
1. Olivetti Logos 80 Calculator by Mario Bellini (1978)
I became aware of Mario Bellini’s work for Olivetti when I was in design school and it forever influenced my approach to design. It was the true beginning of approaching technology design as functional sculpture. In particular I was obsessed with the Logos 80 calculator. Its almost random assembly of block forms with the acute angle at the front gave it a movement that was amazing. The form vocabulary and color palette remains totally modern today.
2. Tizio Lamp by Richard Sapper (1972)
I fell in love with this piece the moment I saw it, and even though at the time I could not afford it in any way, I had to have one. Its architecture was stunning and its clever use of geometry was incredible. And the means of using the parallel arm pieces to transfer the low voltage to the bulb was genius.
3. Low Pad chair by Jasper Morrison (1999)
First of all, Jasper Morrison is one of my favorite contemporary designers. His appliance line for Rowenta he did in 2004 was super influential to me, but my favorite piece of his is the Low Pad Chair for Cappellini. It combines beautiful form with really great construction technique. Super modern. I have one.
4. Aston Martin DB9 by Henrik Fisker (2004)
An unbelievably sensual car form. Powerful, sleek, refined, iconic. For me it was the definition of the GT sport coupe. Just a beautiful, awe-inspiring shape.
5. Libratone Live Airplay Speaker by Designit (2012)
When I saw these speakers I was flabbergasted. So beautiful and modern. And the use of felt as the audio fabric was amazing. Loved the form, materials, the handle. Everything. I immediately bought one. Too bad the Airplay connectivity was not quite ready for prime time though. But an inspiring piece of consumer electronics