Grilling season is nigh upon us, which means it's a sad time in New York. Like many big cities with high rents and hyper-vigilant fire codes, balconies where a burger-craving apartment dweller could set up a little grill are in short supply. At least in my neighborhood.
Which is why when Robert Brunner, founder and creative director of the San Francisco-based design firm Ammunition, showed me his cunning little Element grill from Fuego it nearly broke my heart. The 24,000 BTU, dual-burner charmer looks a little like R2D2, and comes with four different cook-top options, including a pizza stone. It comes in red! I'm ready to move to the suburbs, just to have one.
Brunner's products tend to inspire that kind of devotion. Just look at his pedigree: as director of industrial design at Apple in 1989, he founded the Apple Industrial Design Group. He and his team developed the original Macintosh PowerBook, Newton and 20th Anniversary Mac. Oh, yes. He also was the guy who hired Johnny Ive—a distinction, he laughs, that will likely be written on his tombstone.
After Apple, he became a partner at Pentagram in San Francisco, working on everything from Nike to Nokia. He also launched Fuego, a firm that marries BBQ grill technology to design.
Most recently, Brunner's been working with clean-tech accelerator Noribachi to start a new company, Regen, which will soon unveil a slew of products powered by light. From the renderings I've seen, they're nothing like your father's solar-powered gear.
Last year, Brunner published a terrific book, Do You Matter? How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company, explaining why an emotional connection with a consumer is what differentiates great design from hack work.
Which brings me back to the grill of my dreams. Nice work, Brunner. Make a grown woman weep. Guess I'll head off to Shake Shack to outsource my jones for BBQ in a grill-for-hire burger.
Here are some of Ammunition's recent projects:
The Element Grill for Fuego. I'll take one of these; also the ocean view, please.
Beats Headphones for Dr. Dre:
The Acme P2 pen:
Simplified mobile phones for Sprint:
PC Concept for Microsoft: