Apple's design champion Jony Ive collaborated with renowned industrial craftsman Marc Newson to come up with a 44-piece Sotheby's RED auction held Saturday, November 23 for the benefit of Bono's Global Fund that helps people in Africa afflicted with malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS as well as efforts to fight the spread of these diseases.
A unique Leica M camera went for $1.805 million during the charity event. A red Mac Pro went for $977,000 while a pair of Apple EarPods made of solid rose gold sold for $461,000.
"Manufactured objects, they testify to who made. They describe values. I think this are all extraordinary pieces of design," Ive said in a promo video of Sotheby's.
"The Leica M.. embodies the most iconographic qualities of a camera. It end up being a process of distillation and concentration," said Newson in the same video.
The one-off Red Leica M camera was expected to sell between $500,000 and $700,000 but clearly surpassed the mark. The camera was crafted from a single block of aluminum requiring 270 days of work with over 50 engineers collaborating to complete the project.
The RED Mac Pro went from an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000 and ultimately sold for almost a million, all for a good cause.
The list of items that crossed the auction block in New York also included a George Lucas-signed Stormtrooper helmet that sold for $245,000. Other products of the "Best of Design and Innovation" weekend auction included furniture, cars, clothes, and accessories. The whole auction fetched almost $12.9 million in sales.
A 1960's Olivetti Valentine typewriter sold for $48,000; an original cosmonaut suit for $250,000; Range Rover tweaked with a red trim ($380,000); and a hi-fi system by Ive's mentor Dieter Rams ($80,000).
"...have wild, bloody fights over how many holes should be in the cheese grater but are really talking about how design can improve the quality of life," said Bono, when he introduced Ive and Newson during the event. Bono also said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation promised to match the funds raised by the auction at Sotheby's, which was a total of $12.88 million.
Rock icon Bono also rendered two songs during the event, accompanied by a Steinway piano also tricked out by Ive and Newson. After a standing ovation-worthy performance, the piano crossed the block and sold for $1.6 million.