Although he is the designer of meticulously crafted objects, Yves Béhar’s hair is pure chaos. In a way, this tonsorial disaster is an apt metaphor for the tangled Web of ideas that has exploded from the head of the lanky Swiss-born creator of some of technology’s most striking and memorable designs over the last two decades, including the One Laptop per Child computer, the Jawbone wireless headset, the Up fitness band, and the Ouya game player. It’s all the more impressive when one considers that, until very recently, design has taken a backseat in Silicon Valley, where the result has been either not much to speak of, or products that mimic (usually badly) Apple’s signature absolutist ethos of stark simplicity.
Béhar has gone in a decidedly different direction from that, making sexier, curvier and more luscious and tactile objects. In doing so, he has defined a design style that subliminally suggests the natural landscape of his adoptive California — both its gently rolling hills and its dangerously sharp coastlines.