yves béhar


designboom interviewed yves béhar on june 20, 2005.



what is the best moment of the day? falling asleep, when thoughts end and dreams start.



what kind of music do you listen to at the moment?

the sounds of the ocean surf breaking, and ‘in the fishtank’ record by LOW, and nouvelle vague …



yves béhar interviewjawbone wireless headset with noise cancellation for aliph, 2004


do you listen to the radio?

yes, NPR in the US (national public radio), BBC and couleur 3.



what books do you have on your bedside table?

‘air guitar’ by david hickey and ‘le petit prince’ de st exupery.



where do you get news from? newspapers?

NY times, liberation, and the daily show hosted by john stewart.



 yves béhar interviewbirkenstock ‘birkies’ gardening clogs, 2004



do you read architecture and design magazines?




do you notice how women dress?


do you have any preferences?

eclectic, creative, personal and sexy.




what kind of clothes do you avoid wearing?

bland and personality killing.



 yves béhar interview

left: ‘voyage’ chandelier for swarovski, 2004

right: small black ‘nest’ chandelier for swarovski, 2004



do you have any pets?

no, unfortunately.



when you were a child,


did you want to become a designer?

a writer first, and yes, then a designer.



where do you work on your designs and projects?

everywhere: in the car, in bed, outside, inside, at home, in airplanes, at the office, in trains etc…

 yves béhar interview‘red transformer’ laptop for toshiba, 2003



describe your style, like a good friend of yours


would describe it.

the fusing of storytelling and fluidity, where the potential for technology and poetry, commerce and culture merge with the physical world.



who would you like to design something for?

unesco and … yes, creating more environmentally friendly products, it is an area that needs some attention.



does your approach to designing change with each


project – or do you approach each client with the same


basic philosophy? designers can fight any battle with one methodology or point of view; scale, functionality, technology, and manufacturing processes can all be adapted to different projects. the only basic philosophy is that our approach has to be relevant, and our methodology is about building contents and ideas, designing from the inside out, rather than applying a style or visual signature to everything we touch. rather than selling a specific idea of what beauty is or is not, products will be more personal, customized and unique.



 yves béhar interview

left: MINI-motion 2 part shoe, 2003

right: MINI-motion watch, 2003allows to flip the display 90 degrees for better viewing while motoring…



in 2001 you were called to develop accessories around


the iconic MINI car.

the collection was launched in september 2003. rather than reinforcing the stereotype of accessory as status symbol, I focused on the transition between being inside and outside the car: every accessory has a dual function, for example, there’s a shoe that has a detachable inner slipper for driving; a watch that reads either vertically or horizontally, depending on the position of your arm; and a jacket that has a built-in seat.



do you discuss or exchange ideas with other architects?

yes, the creative community that I have a dialogue with is absolutely amazing in it’s diversity of points of views: they span architecture, fashion, technology and the arts.



can you describe an evolution in your work from your first


projects to the present day?

currently I’m trying to make technology disappear.in 1999, I said ‘design brings stories to life’, the idea that products were the true agents of a brand, I remember these were the virtual and advertising days, and this point of view differentiated us: most US based design agencies were only focused on technology and medical products, two areas who never understood the value of connecting to consumers emotionally and building brands people love (to the exception of apple of course). so I applied our design and technical skills to exciting consumer brands such as MINI cooper and birkenstock, and we were able to grow our team in the technology downturn.



what project has given you the most satisfaction?

very hard question to answer, can a mother admit to a favorite child ? usually it is the one project I am working on at the moment, you have to give it attention and even love, and that is what I am proud of: I give them all the attention they deserve !

 yves béhar interview

MINI-aid tent, 2003it deploys from the trunk and attaches to existing hardware on the MINI.for a temporary emergency shelter, movable roadside soup kitchen or diagnostic center.




is there any designer and/or architect from the past,


you appreciate a lot?

achille castiglioni, for his wit and storytelling.



and those still active


– are there any particular ones you appreciate?

hussein chalayan, ron arad, herzog and demeuron.



any advice for the young ?

develop your own direction: design is one of the very few fields where differences are celebrated, so find your own route.



(example: unemployment, criminality and pollution…)


what are you afraid of regarding the future ?

the only thing to be afraid of in the future, is when people don’t believe in the future anymore.


yves béhar interview