It’s interesting, using the internet to look back on a story. Just over a year ago, I (vaguely) recall a story that was bubbling away in which Apple’s Chief Designer; Jony Ive, was commissioned along with Marc Newson to design a new, one off, Leica.
Over the past year Jony and Marc have reportedly created hundreds of prototypes for this design, culminating in the finished article – the “Leica M for RED”. Closely echoing the classic Leica M shape, yet updating the traditional leather wrapper case with rounded anodized aluminium outer shell and machined aluminium body, a limited number of these will be auctioned on the 23rd of November at Southeby’s to raise money for The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
I’ve waxed lyrical about Leica before so I’ll spare you the rhetoric but suffice to say, I’m a big fan of the brand and it was that part of the story specifically that piqued my interest. Having an iconic designer, design a iconic Leica is an interesting idea, but it isn’t a new idea. This article on ViewBug talks about 10 such projects – where the end result was a classic Leica, re designed. In case you’re wondering, prices for these started out at anywhere from $3000 and went upwards of $50,000. Given their limited edition kudos, their price tag will undoubtedly have gone in a fairly sharp, upwardly direction.
Ive of course, is best known for his Apple designs – including a lot of the hardware and software interfaces we’ve seen over the past few years, from iMacs to icons and perhaps you wouldn’t be too hard pushed to draw a comparison between a combination of the new IOS7 design, the Mac Book Pro and some of the accenting of this camera design. Perhaps, that’s partially, his style – this homogenisation and cross over of hardware and software designs has now leapt into another design use-case : a 24MP Rangefinder camera with CMOS sensor, high performance processor and a new Leica APO-Summicron M 50mm f/2 ASPH lens.
A starting price has not been released just yet, but given the popularity of the guys work, I don’t imagine for a minute, they’ll be cheap.