tv Charlie Rose PBS November 22, 2013 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
>> rose: welcome to the program, we begin this evening with the world of design and talk to two of the greatest product designers in the world. they are jony ive and marc newson. >> i think one of the things that you see now that wasn't conscious when we started off on this journey, but that nearly all of these objects are tools, they're tools, they're not a mean, you know, they're not an end unto themselves, they serve a bigger, a higher purpose. and i think one of the things that we generally don't like, when you have that sense of the design -- >> you you know, we're not collector of design. we don't do this to sort of acquire-- we don't aspire to own lots of this stuff. what really interests us about what we do is learning about materials, about technology, about different processes. and all of those things ultimately are about making things. and making things well.
and going able to do things that are really manufactured in a superior way. and i think we're really obsessed with the way things are made, and learning about processes. >> rose: on the eve of the day 50 years ago that john f. kennedy was assassinated, we talked to biographer robert caro about that day in dallas. >> about 40 minutes lady byrd johnson was to say ken o'donnell walks through the door, he campaigned with him all of life, she said seeing the strict enface of kenney o'donnell who loved him, we knew. a moment later, another ken diede, mack killduff comes running into the room, runs over to johnson to get orders and says mr. president, it's the first time that johnson has been really addressed like that. and at that moment, charlie, he takes command. >> rose: the craft of design
with jony ive and marc newson and the day kennedy died through the eyes and reporting of robert caro when we continue it. >> funding for charlie rose was provided by the following: additional funding provided by these funders: and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> tonight a special conversation with jony ive, apple's chief of design and the man steve jobs desribed
as his spiritual partner. and marc newson, a industrial designer who made everything from ca, jewelry, and airport tin terrier, they teamed up to apple's red to auction the a sotheby's to go to the global find to find aides. ive and newson have known each other for 13 year, ive is almost as important to he'll success as legendary c.e.o. steve jobs. he is behind the designs for the i mac, ipod, i phones, and ios 7 the latest-- the it has helped apple sell millions of its products around the world. newson's range as a design is unparalleled, so much so that the "new york times" once asked, is there anything marc newson has not designedment his lockheed lounge chair has set world records at auctions. ive and newson have both redefined the boundaries between art and design, form and function. their work has been featured
in museums and earned them countless awards. we talk with jony and marc about the auction, their craft, and their friendship. >> define for me what this exhibit is about? >> what-- in terms of the collection of objects, it was actually quite simple. it is a group of objects, each of them we both liked. and we had quite a clear criteria that we wanted them to be pieces of design, so they're all functional. and they're all capable of being made in volume, you know, en masse. but really it came down to objects that we, you know, we wanted to bid on and buy ourselves. but importantly, i don't think this is a survey of contemporary design. i done think this is -- probably this is not what people would have expected us to do. you know, we haven't gone out and tried to kur rate an exhi business of the world of contemporary design.
this is about objects that for us are deeply personal. >> rose: but it's a collaboration? >> among two great friends. >> very much so. you know, jony and i sort of collaborate without even having to think about collaborating. we talk about this stuff all the time anyway so this simply simply a question of putting it in gear and actually doing something about it. of course getting all of the objects was a different challenge all together. because you know, thinking about this and actually getting people to donate these objects was challenging. >> how did it come about? >> it started with a phone call with bono. i think a couple of years ago, really. that's certainly when we agreed that we would love to do this. we would love to do it together. and i think we started designing a couple of the pieces about a year and a half ago. but yeah, i think it was about two years ago. >> so bono calls up and says
i have an idea. >> yeah, i think originally the conversation was even, it was further than two years but he describe described-- actually his description was wonderful which was could you put together a collection that we would then auction off the whole thing, a collection that was, you know, could be in a museum. and then we just auction the whole thing. it sounded simple at the onseth-- onset but it was quite a tough challenge. the thing about design, the thing about what we do is that it is not necessarily mont to be expensive. i mean design is necessarily supposed to be accessible. and when faced with a situation where we're trying to raise money. so this is not like art. >> rose: dow both share the same, i mean, tell me about the kinship in ideas. kinship in approach, kinship in appreciation, kinship in sense of design and beauty
and function. >> i think in some ways that's why we are the close friends that we are that we share the same few of the world and the same space and relate to the same attributes or aspects of an object. >> most importantly, we really hate the same things. >> hate the same things. >> rose: okay, so what do you hate? >> well, i think one of the things that we-- i think one of the things that you see now that wasn't conscious when we started off on this journey, but that nearly all of these objects are tools, you know --. >> rose: tools? >> they're tools it. they're not a means-- you know, they're not an end unto themselves. they serve a bigger, a higher purpose. and i think one of the things that we generally don't like, when you have that sense of the design wagging the tail in your face. i mean, a lot of these pieces, it's not clear, even to us, who actually designed them. >> yeah. >> and so i think, you know,
sometimes, i think one of the things that we respond to is that sense of almost inevitability. of course it's this way, there con be another sort of smart or rational alternative. so i think, you know, i think stuff that's just arbitrary irritates us. >> yeah, the space suited, for example s a wonderful example of that type of object. i mean no one knows who designed that piece. but if it didn't work the way it did, the reallies would be simply catastrophic. >> rose: so it's life-and-death here. >> absolutely. >> rose: you design something that serves an important function. >> as is the window of the space shuttle that we have. i means that's just a very, very simple, seemingly simple piece of glass. but again it's kind of make-or-break. i mean it's the ultimate-- it's the ultimate manifestation in a way of what we do. yet it's designed anonymously. >> and it's incredible beauty in something that is that resolute. you know, when failure, you know, you can measure
failure so easily. there's i think the incredible beauty to clarity. so are you asking about our sort of connection. i think that's one of the things almost at a preverbal level we see and sense and appreciate immediately. >> i would have thought that one of the things that you hate, because you love simplicity, i mean it's almost like the holy grail, isn't it? for both of you. and so whatever is the opposite of simplicity would turn you off. >> yeah, i think that's a fair comment but you know, sim police sit so complex in itself. i mean you know, it really is a full circle. >> rose: more complex to achieve than anything else. >> absolutely. i mean when you say simplicity you simply don't see all of the hardship that it took to get there. >> simplicity is not an aesthetic stichlt i mean it's not the absence of clutter. >> right. >> i mean then that would just be an aesthetic. but i think simplicity is
refining and being able to define the very he sense of what something does. >> finding the esence. >> and therefore you understand what it is, and you understand what it does. and but simplicity, i think for us, isn't just the-- it's not just the absence of clutter. it's not just stuff that's not there. there's tremendous, i think, sort of gravity to trying to find that very, very simple solution. but when you do, there is that that you think it almost hasn't been designed because it does seem so obvious. sometimes almost bordering on naive. >> rose: naive. >> because-- because it is just so clear that you're so used to seeing so much unnecessary stuff. that i think it's very striking when you actually do come across something,
that is so essential. >> rose: what is the process for finding this essence-- esence, this core, this simplicity? >> i think it's a whole lot of things, really. i mean it's not only about the process of-- it's not only about the trade. it's not only about the-- the craft of design but it's almost about having a cultural understanding as well. i mean so many of these pieces, so many of these objects, you know, are so rich with cultural background. and that's a really important part of design. you know, i think that as a designer you really in many ways i think you are obliged to have a really thorough understanding of contemporary culture. it's very hard to appeal to people unless you can give them a way of connecting with something on a cultural level. >> i think the camera say good example that we designed together with leica.
and i think at the very beginning you have a sense of that sort of the essence of camera, so i think there is that part which is incredibly intuitive. and is right at the very beginning of the process. and then there's also that part of the process which is just the refining an retuning-- refining because there are so many things when it comes to implementation and how you actually make it real that could actually undermine that first big idea about, you know, to try and end up with something that really is very, very camera-like an was part of what you first saw, when we first talked about it. there are so many things it that would you know, distract you from what that first big idea was. >> but it's really important as well i think to point out that it's a struggle. you know, it's really actually very, very difficult, you know, simplicity didn't mean it
was easy. >> rose: an what's the hardest thing? >> i think the hardest thing is making something right. it's about combining all of the attributes that you like and trying to distill all those things into an object. and of course you as a designer understand, you know, what all of those things arement but most people that see these objects will look at it in a sort of courseary way and won't notice any of those things. we look at these objects and you know, breathe a sigh of relief. the camera is a great example of that. i mean it's just so enormously complex. >> would something like 900 prototypes. >> we made so many. >> it was ridiculous, actually. i mean it should, you know, it could have gone into production. it would have gone into production in the sense that you know, it is designed in every way to be mass produced. of course it won't. there will only ever be one
of those. >> you have designed a boat. you both love cars. where does function come in in terms of design and the balance. >> i think it depends what it is, it's a balance. all of the objects here, i think almost without exception have a very specific function and arguably are at the sort of top end of that sort of spectrum. >> i mean often you know we talk about function as if it's in conflict with beauty. >> i actually don't think it is. >> i don't either but tell me why you don't think it is. >> well, i mean,. >> rose: or has to be. >> i think the beauty is in the clear expression or function. because so many of these, you know, one of the lots are a series of watch making
tools and they all have very different, very specific functions. and it's just the expression of that function is so clear and it's not encumbered by an inability to implement the actual tool beautifully. and so often i think it's just how you express the function in a clear way iss object and is what's beautiful. >> but one of the great things about a number of the objects in this exhi business is that the objects themselves in a sense define the function. if you take the air stream trailer. i mean it's hard to imagine what trailers looked like, what caravans looked like before that object existed so that's a great example of an object that kind of defined its existence in a way. and the best objects can do that, really. can sort of transcend that, that issue of functionality versus aesthetics, because they just sort of are what
they are. >> the air stream is a lovely example because also its material that is made from, from aluminum, the fact that it is bare and its raw, the shapes, it's this incredible very holistic solution between its form and what it does. and the actual material that's used. >> the craft, the object, i mean the saddle, is another wonderful object. i mean who knows why that thing looks the way it does. i mean there are so many reasons. but in many ways, the greatest objects have, in a sense evolved, really, through a whole variety of reasons. cultural reasons. and again, the saddle is a really interesting object because it's just so sort of inherently beautiful. i mean and also when you consider this is something that a lot of people won't realize, but it's made in-- on the fourth floor, the third floor of the
building in paris, the hermes shops still make the saddles in a room that's about-- you know. >> rose: does the process of production interest both of you? how it's made? >> i think that's one of the things where we probably spend more time talking about how you make something than most other parts of process. >> sort of all we really care about. >> rose: tell me about that. >> well, you know, we're obsessed with,-- i think one of the reasons we do what we do is because, you know, i think i can safely speak for jony, you know, we're not collectors of design, you know, we don't do this to sort of acquire-- we don't aspire to own lots of this stuff. what really interests us about what we do is learning about materials, about technology, about different processes. and all of those things ultimately are about making things and making things well. and being able to do things that are really manufactured
in a superior way. and i think we're really obsessed with the way things are made. and learning about processes and -- >> i think that's one of the things that we do share is we're incredibly inquisitive, very curious. and it's generally not about when something was designed 4aosgñ by who, it's how it was made. and i think-- . >> rose: how did they do that. >> how did they do that. and what's that junction there, and what exact material was used to do this. and how well does it perform. but i think we naturally find that much more interesting in terms of something's biography than when and who did it. >> you know, and for example the insides of things. the stuff that you don't see, you know, that jony and i will be holding it upside down and trying to kind of understand how that was don't i guess another interesting example would be the pitch of the george-- pitch per, an incredibly seamless
object but it took someone three months to raise that piece from a flat sheet of silver. and it's just such a wonderful-- it's just such a wonderful sort of journey to understand. >> rose: this reminded me a bit of painters who will go to the museum and just be staring at someone's painting that they like. and i once asked one who was staring at a painting, a well-known painter. he said i'm just looking at how he did that. how did he make that stroke. and how did he create that color. it's all how did that thing of beauty happen. >> i think one of the things that you get a sense of is the degree of care. >> yeah. >> how much did this group of people care to make this and make it right. and they didn't do it for
themselves. it's in service to the people that are going to use or buy the product. and i think there's something, the humanity of that, i think is extraordinary. but i do think, as marc was saying, you know, how something is finished on the sign identify-- inside. i mean you can argue that you'll never see it. but i think we believe and it's very difficult to explain why, but i think part of the human condition is that we sense care. and sometimes it's easier to realize that you sense carelessness. and we're surrounded, our manufactured environment so much of it, you know, testifies to a complete lack of care. which isn't whether, you know, that's not about your attitude towards an object, it's about your attitude to each other. >> rose: yeah. >> and so i think that sort of commitment and passion and you know, become you know fanaticism of just really caring to get
something right, whether you're going to see it or not. but we do that for each other. but it's a very contemporary thing, in a way. i mean if you think about it, it really is one of the most sort of environmentally sustainable ways of approaching a problem. i mean i am often asked about, you know, how do i embrace the idea of sustainability in what i do. and i think for me the answer is that you just have to try to design great things that stand the test of time. you know, it's the antithesis, if you design a wonderful object, a lot of the objects we're surrounded by have stood the test of time which is also one of the things that makes them great. >> rose: steve had a great sense of caring that he knew what went into the inside of an iphone or an ipad. where the screws were there and if he didn't like the
placement of those screws, that kind of thing, is part of the legend of the collaboration between you and steve. >> i think it's just part of a much broader picture. and so i think at the highest level it's to try and make something great. the only way you can do that is to care, you know, to an extraordinary level. and i think many things then testify to that. whether it's how you finish the inside of something. how it's assembled right away through to how you try to communicate its value or how you package it. but i think certainly one of the things we feel strongly about at apple is you know, that commitment to care and to trying to make the very best product that we can. >> do you ever fail. >> one of the great things about design is that, you know, the process itself takes some time. so i think-- .
>> rose: just ran out of time. >> i can safely say that during the gestation of a design, you know, there's plenty of time to cull it if it's not looking good. the fact is you probably, you know, bad ideas don't often see the light of day. there are many opportunities to stop the thing in its tracks. >> rose: what kind of thing would stop it in its track. >> well, if you feel that it's just not working. it's very hard to say exactly. >> rose: i can't make it like i want to make it. >> there's so may be reasons. i mean it may be sort of commercial reasons or, you know, in my case, you know, the client might not, you know, you and the client might not see eye-to-eye on how it should be done. it just doesn't stack up or you just feel it's not working the way it should. or it's not going to be, you have a sense of the fact that it's just not going to be a great object. and then i think it's such a great and liberating thing to be able to stop
something. >> it's often something that you don't or by definition, these are things that you done see. >> rose: right. >> some of the most important victories are those times that you say no. and that you decide not to make something. nobody will ever know about that. >> absolutely. >> and i any it takes --. >> and not chasing an idea. if it's not going to happen it's to the going to happen. you stop and you start again. and i think that's, you know, probably quite a philosophical approach to many things that certainly in design i think it's kind of all or nothing. >> you carry around a sketch book? >> absolutely, yeah. >> for what purpose. >> my sketch book is really a visual diary, in fact. i don't use a sketch book to design. i use a sketch book to record ideas that i have because of course we design things in our head, really. i mean i think we both have the ability to visualize things, in a way that you
know, i can see finished objects in my head. so. >> and you can, jony? >> yeah, i mean i think marc is saying what you draw short-hand to try and remember what you visualize. >> that's the problem, isn't it. what you can see. you could never let some people have that drafting gift to be able to draw something really, really comprehensive in a compelling way. but normally what it is, because don't have that much time anyway is to try to remind yourself what you were thinking. >> yeah, you would be very disa ponted to have a look in my sketch book. my sketches are sort of like thumbnails, sort of squiggles really, like a bad doctors prescription or something. >> rose: . >> that's one of the things that is interesting when we're working together on something, for example, is we'll be sitting drawing together. but it's just interesting how little you need to actually-- how small a number of marks that you
need to make on a piece of paper to be able to communicate to each other exactly what you're thinking and why. i mean a lot of the things seemed very, very obvious to us. of course they're not obvious nor should they be obvious but at least for us, i think we view president process of design as really a question of tidying up, you know, sort of like good housekeeping on many levels. >> rose: nature is in many ways perfect. in terms of how nature turns out design. >> yes. i think it really is. and one of the most wonderful things about nature is the unpredictability and quirkiness. and i think will you see that in some of these objects. i mean there are a couple of lamps designed by a wonderful italian designer who is at the height of his career after the second world war. and he had this
extraordinary able to design things that were quirky and odd. and he would do things that were sort of unexpected but that magical and looked like -- >> and that kind of thing is something that is really brilliantly exemplified in naturement you know, you look at something and it's just, you know, why is it like that. i mean -- >> did this collaboration enlarge your sense of each other? >> being together on a project that was both a love affair with things, and ideas and friendship? >> i think it is completed some things, you know. i think we invariably will be talking about design and as we were saying, you know, how some thing is made, and because we're both so curious, what was a lovely, what was i think really a real honor and what was very
special about this was that we actually got to move away from just talking. i mean she got to make some-- actually got to make some stuff together. and that's put our money where our mouth is. and actually the thing that was so curious was it was as fluid and ascism and easy as i guess we had hoped it would be. what was great was there were no shall did -- you know there weren't any surprises. but i think as well it was, you know, what was great was that we ultimately had a lot of fun. and i think that's a really important part of-- . >> rose: go ahead, because there is sometimes you think that there ought to be certain beyond all the things we talked about, there ought to be a dash of fun and joy. >> yes. >> rose: i mean this -- >> this stuff at the end of the day when we flick flew the catalogs that we put together for this exhi business t put a smile on our face. some things actually make us laugh. a lot of things make us
laughing actually. there's a sketch done by the designer of elvis presley's costumes and it's such a camp crazy, youknow, thin. but it just, we crack up every time we see it. and but that's a really important part of design. is the humor in the part of design. we're surrounded with this stuff am and at the end of the day it really shouldn't be that serious. it's got to make-- it's got to lighten our lives. >> steven i think he said something very interesting in the forward for the catalog which was, you know, our work was pure but we're not puritans. and i think that you do get a really sense of just the sheer joy in this activity, essentially when it really comes done to it, what we're surrounded by are objects that a group of people got together. it needed to be a group because very many, a lot of them are complex and challengingment but basically a group of people get together to make something for other peoplement and that's really
joyful and also i think it's a pretty primal thing to do, isn't it we've been doing for thousands and thousands of years. and this is i think just an interesting collection of just a few of those objects. >> and it's a quirky, disparrate collection of objects. it really i think as i said before is an unpredictable collection of things. one of the things we tried to do is to cover it very, very broad range of objects both in terms of sort of chronology but also in terms of different types it of functionality and addressing dichb types it of popular culture. you know, we tried to look at muss eck and not only, you know, design in its strictest sense. >> rose: thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> rose: two of its auction items are leica camera and aluminum table are one of a kind originals. they could sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, are much more this saturday, others like its steinway grand piano and a george jenson silver pitcher were
customized for the auction. here is a closer look. >> so explain this to me, what went into it, what was the challenge. because it's remarkable. >> well, i think one of the things that, if you're going to make one of something, the fact that you're just going make one off endetermines the sort of facilities that you have, the machines that you can use. and i think what's bizarre here, and he's completely n many ways out of po portion, is that even though we've just going to make one, we brought to bear the most sophisticated opinionry, the most incredible processes to make this. that normally you wouldn't dream of doing unless it was go to be made in huge, huge cuanities. >> rose: for example. >> for example, the cnc machines that we use. the lasers that we use to create that texture. those are tiny little hem is
spheres that a laser cuts so that it feels good and is grippiment but that machinery is, ferociously expensive. and to set it up and develop it and get it right, you would never normally do that unless you were going to make, you know, millions of them. so i think that is one of the things that is very unusuals about this as an object. >> the other thing which is really interesting about this object is that we chose, we chose to design this object because for us itological is one of the most iconic objects of design of this century. i mean everyone, it's such an iconic piece. everyone knows, well, not everyone but a lot of people, if you know anything about cameras you realize that that leica is such a rich object, culturally speak. so to sort of addressment that and there were things about it that frankly speaking i think we both thought we could -- >> don't want to say do better but we could do in a different way. >> you know, we're talking about sim policities.
there are numerous sort of elements on that but i think what this does is it communicates so quickly and immediately that it's a camera. i mean it almost seems like sort of a camera distilled. and so a lot of the work was, mark was describing sort of cleaning up s to get rid of things that we didn't want to be there because they were a distrack. now that alone doesn't then mean that this will be simple. but it's part of the process to friday and get to that point to being left with something that looks so cameray. >> rose: why wouldn't you make this camera, it's a prototype. you made it for this exhi business. why wouldn't this go into production? what am i missing here? >> i think one of the goals, you know, one of our challenges because this is an art, and because intrinsically you know, i think you should be able to go out and buy these objects
easily, but because our goal was this auction, and the goal was to make money. >> rose: yeah. >> for such an important cause, that's why we decided just to make one. >> rose: right. >> but i think the fact that it could be made, you know, proves that it is a really valid design. >> this is the second object that is here, that is new, that you created, right? there are two of them. we saw the camera, we now see the table. how is it different than what we just described in terms of the camera? >> well, i think this was-- this is that sort of product or object where it's form is what it does. >> rose: yeah. >> so there's obviously there's no technology here. and so you know, the shape, the form designs its function. and it's obvious and it's immediate that it's a desk. >> but is it easier to do? opinions well, i think the challenges are different. i mean to your point before, this probably is more of a
skull actual object than a pure exercise in industrial design. but the reason we chose to do this object as well as the camera was that i think they're at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of design. design can be that, can be a large skull actual on correct that doesn't present the same technical challenges or a complex on swrekt like a camera. and it is also everything in between. so we chose to do that and that because we found that these were presented really unique challenges but different challenges. >> what was finally the hardest thing about this for the two of you? >> i think part of it was its scale. i mean we wanted it, there were two objects, very different scales. but actually from the same materials. so they're both made from aluminum. and so it is-- the big challenges were just challenges of implementation, you know, in an ideal world. it we would have looked to make the whole thing from one huge, huge piece of aluminum. but that wasn't possible. >> i remember the last time we talked, you told me how
fascinated you were about space. what's it about a space suit? >> well, i think what really fascinates me about space suits is that in many ways they're an environment to live within. i mean this thing is obviously hermetically sealed. when you are inside there it shuts-- . >> rose: it's your world. >> yeah, this is make-or-break. it's life or death. this is an object that has to be designed to such exacting standards that you know, a person's life relies on how well it's done. and i think you know space, aerospace, so many of-- so much of technology, the process, the things that we love about design trickle down from there really. and the other great thing about it is, of course, we have no idea who designed it. you know, there are some of these unsung heroes in the world of design.
and there did not -- >> that is exactly what i was thinking about. >> one of the things that drives us crazy is just stuff that's arbitrary. you know, because you can't, it really arrests you because you keep thinking well, why, why. but what's interesting here is that you know there's not a detail there, that isn't there for a really good reason. >> rose: and where this is placed every -- >> yes, yes, but the ramifications of something failing, if those ramifications are significant, i don't know why, those are objects that we naturally find really he is duckive and intriguing. i think there is a beauty and clarity of objects like that. >> rose: take a look at some of these things. just comment on these. this is a helmet, obviously. >> this is the stormtroopers helmet from star wars. i mean star wars is something that both, i mean marc and i grew up watching and was-- really, really informative to our view of
the future. but there was an incredible, i mean when you step back and think this idea of having, you know, the -- were in a bright white shiny armour was fantastic. and it's also important because we grew up in a time when science fiction was sort of inspirational, really. and i think it's important, you know, for people like jony and i that we had objects like this. that you know fantasy played such an important role in making us the kind of people that we are, really. >> i mean so much, as an exercise, so much of what we do is trying to imagine something that doesn't yet exist. and so that whole genre, i mean science fiction and that sort of view of the future is-- is a lot of what occupies and preoccupies.
>> rose: in a sense doing what you do at apple, it is often said that steve jobs was out to create products that people didn't know they needed. he wasn't going to build something that he thought people wanted or could be tested on. he in fact was creating something that they would realize how much they loved once they saw it. >> yes. well, that's the job of the designer. it's not, and i think it's the users or consumer's job to imagine what the future could be. because what the future can be is so often afforded by technology. >> yeah. >> it's afforded by, you know, something new can be new because there's some new technology or some new process. and so unless you're aware of what those processes and technologies are, how can you possibly know what, you know, what's possible. and it's not about focus groups as well.
our job is about looking into a crystal ball and trying to predict what the future is going to be like. >> yeah. here we have champagne. >> yeah. >> this is a great example of an object or at least of an icon that sort of transcended time in many waysive. mean it stood the test of time. you really can squint and you'll recognize the shape of fwhoot el, the shape of the logo. it's one of the things we love about this. not just its brand but just of this object. >> and of course we were able to customize it, a number of the objects here, we didn't design, we were able to add our touches. so it's completely unique, of course, because there will only ever be one of those and it's a very special year, 1966. >> yeah. >> and this is what you referred to earlier, this is the -- >> yeah. >> i mean jony and i both have a love of silver smithing. jony's father is a silver smith. i studied silver smithing.
and we both know what went into the production of this object. and it really is truly george, kind of mind-boggling incredible. that skills like that still exist in the world. and they should, you know, i think we felt really strongly that those sorts of skills should be championed. >> rose: thank you. congratulations, this is remarkable. this exhi business, the collaboration of two of the greatest designers we've ever seen coming together in friendship and mission and bringing together things that reflect what design has and continues to mean to people. and that it is a product of labor and care and concern and detail in pursuit of beauty and simplicity and function and so much more. this exhi business at
sotheby's in new york. thank you. >> thanks a charl yeaux. >> thank you. >> rose: thank you, pal, great to see you. >> thank you for taking time. >> i would have given gladly not to be standing here today. the greatest lead other of our time has been struck down by the foulest deed of our time. >> robert caro is here, a pulitzer prize winning histor yen and one of the most important buy og fears of our time. his master worked years of lyndon johnson now stretches to four volumes. his latest volume, the passage of power tells the story of president kennedy's assassination through the eyes of the vice president. "the new york times" calls his account of november 22nd, 1963, and the events that follow the most rich eting ever. it was-- riveting ever, its with a day when as caro said
a president was not only created-- killed, a president was also created. i'm pleased to have robert caro back at this table. welcome. >> glad to be back. >> rose: let me go back even further. were obviously this is a series of conversations about president kennedy and the 50 years after the assassination. when did johnson get to know kennedy? >> he didn't get to know him, he thought he knew him. but he was really wrong about him. he didn't get to really know him until kennedy becomes president. you know, when kennedy is a senator he's a junior senator. johnson regards him as a playboy. and he regards him as sickly, you know, he says this is a quote from lyndon johnson about jack kennedy. he was pathetic as a senator. he didn't know how to address the chair. and he was sickly. he wasn't the man's man. so johnson doesn't realize, he's the mighty majority leader. he thinks he's going to have the nomination in 1960. he doesn't realize that this young senator is a lot tougher and a lot smarter than he thinks he is. >> rose: and so then they
off and campaign and win the presidency. >> yes. >> rose: and then -- >> and then johnson finds out how tough jack kennedy really is. because when he becomes president he takes johnson at basically under the kennedy administration, johnson is completely he mass you can lated. all power, all power is removed from him. he doesn't even have the right to order an airplane to take him on a trip without robert kennedy or one of robert ken doe's aides signing off on it. every speech is supposed to be created-- . >> rose: robert ken doe is to the working at the white house. he's in the justice department, or attorney general. >> yes. >> rose: but he's signing off on what happens to the vice president. >> the kennedies have this nick name nor lyndon johnson, rufus cornpone. they even have a nick name for him and lady byrd, they call him uncle cornpone and little pork chop. they won't call him mr. vice president. they call had lyndon which infuriates and humiliates him. and he's reduced to, and
everyone in washington is laughing at him. the newspaper headlines and the "washington post" and the nation said whatever happened to lyndon johnson, the mighty majority leader? he doesn't even count for anything any more. and that's the situation up to the moment of the gunshot in dallas. >> rose: and just tell us about that day. because as i said "the new york times" says that you have rivetingly written about that. that day kennedy, johnson in dallas, an assassination and takeover. >> i'll tell you about it through lyndon john ton-- general son's eye which most people don't that. in the first car there is jack and jackie and in front of them john connally, the handsome governor of texas with his head of white hair. >> rose: and a protege of lyndon. >> his former assistant and now the governor. and his wife nellie connally, a former sweetheart of the university of texas, still a very beautiful woman. second car is a very heavily armoured secret service car
called the queen mary because it's so heavy. there are four agents standing on its running board and a few more secret service agents with their automatic rifles concealed on the floor. then there's a 750 foot gap and then lyndon johnson is riding the convertible, he's sitting on the backseat, lady byrd in the center and the texas senator ralph yarl borrow is on the left. so young blood sees not normal movements in the president's car. in the same instant he seems one of the secret servicemen in the queen mary and the secret service car getting to his feet with the automatic rifle and looking around, not knowing what has happened. youngblood whirls around in that instant and lady bird says in a voice we never heard him use before, yells that johnson get down, get down. and he reaches with his hand, grabs johnson's shoulder and flings him down on the backseat of the car. jumps over the frontseat and lays on top of johnson
protecting johnson's body with his own. and in this posture the three cars, the car carrying the wounded-- the president, the secret service car, and johnsons car roar up to the expressway at a tremendous speed along the expressway. and they squeal into the emergency bay at parkland hospital. now johnson's car is put right next to ken doe's car but youngblood has said to him, when we get to that hospital, don't stop and look around. don't look at anything. we're going to get you, have to get you into a safe, secure place. done hesitate. don't look around. so johnson never sees, the car stops, four secret service agents pull johnson out and up of the car and start to run limb into the hospital. he never sees what's in the car next to him which is president kennedy's wounded or already dead body. >> rose: so he's still in the car, the president is still in the car.
>> yes. and johnson is run down one corridor, another corridor, then another corridor until they finally get him into a place that-- it's called the parkland minor medical section where a cubicle has been divide mood three by white curtains hanging down. they put johnson against the back wall. youngblood is stands in front of him, and the middle cubicle he stations two secret service agents. at the door he puts a fourth agent. his instructions to that agent are do not let anyone pass you unless you personally know his face. now johnson is standing there, and finally after about 40 minutes lady byrd johnson was to say ken o'donnell walks through the door. he was kennedy's aide who had campaigned with him all his life. she says seeing the stricten face of kenney o'donnell who loved him, we knew. a moment later another kennedy aide mack killduff
comes running into the room, runs over to johnson to get orders and says mr. president, it's the first time that johnson has been really addressed like that. and at that moment, charlie, he takes command. and youngblood and the other agents say we've got to get you back to the plane and back to washington. we have to take off immediately and get back to washington. because you know, nobody is sure this isn't a conspiracy. it's not only the president who was shot, the governor of texas was shot. who knew at that moment if lyndon johnson would have had a bullet for him f youngblood hadn't been lying on top of him protecting his body with his own. we were only 13 months past the cuban missile crisis. nuclear confrontation with russia. who knew if this was some sort of a conspiracy. and there's another interesting thing which nobody really pays attention to. as it happens, at that very moment, was one of, that
motorcade is one of the rare moments when the president and the vice president were close together in another city. but at that very moment six members of the cabinet including secretary of state ruskin, secretary of the treasury and the press secretary weren't even in washington, they were all together on another plane heading to an economic conference in japan. so the government, this occurred at a moment when the government of the united states was by accident-- . >> rose: not in washington. >> yeah, very vulnerable. so they said we've got to get you back to washington. johnson, the minute, you know, he hasn't been given orders for three years but he's instantly the old lyndon johnson. his reply is no, i'm not leaving this hospital without mrs. kennedy. they said well mrs. kennedy won't leave without her husband's body. johnson says well then we will go back to air force one and i'll wait there for her and the body. but i'm not leaving dallas
without her. and when she gets back to the plane, he really wants her to be standing next to him in that famous photo, when he's taking the oath of office, as a symbol of continuity, as a symbol of stability. >> rose: so he goes to the plane. he knows that she is going to come with the body. what is the first communication, direct communication between the first lady and the new president? >> johnson wants to make a private telephone call to robert kennedy. and to make this private call he goes with his secretary maria familiarer into the president's bedroom. shuts the door and makes this call to washington to robert kennedy. and as he's doing that, the coffin comes on board, followed by mrs. kennedy. and the kennedy aides. the coffin is put down on
the floor. an mrs. kennedy walks an opens the door to the president's bedroom. and finds lyndon johnson in that bedroom. now whole reams have been issued by johnson people and kennedy people. was she as william manchester said, was he sprawled on the kennedy bed, you know. he says he was sitting up and making a call. but whether he was sprawled there or sitting there, he was sitting on the bed and she, mrs. kennedy retreats back to the rear coffin. a moment later, johnson, embarrassed, certainly, gets-- takes lady byrd and they walk back to the back to speak to mrs. kennedy. lady byrd says, you know, that immaculate woman, this is her skirt was caked with blood, her stockings were caked with blood.
and her white gloves were covered with blood. she says that immaculate woman, that is what i couldn't get over. she was so immaculate and here she was bloodstained. and on this, they ask-- johnson asks mrs. kennedy if she will stand beside him when he's taking the oath. and she says for the sake of history, i should do it. >> rose: tell me about the call to robert kennedy. >> you know, as i said these two men hated each other. so robert kennedy is having lunch that day. he has a house in virginia, a white framed colonial house. and there is a long lawn stretching down from the house to a swimming pool. >> rose: what does he say to lyndon johnson other than or what does lyndon johnson say to him other than your brother has been killed? >> oh. >> rose: and we need your help. >> johnson asked him for the wording of the oath of office. and. >> rose: but was any sense of, i'm so-- beyond myself
this is a terriblest thing ever happened in america. your brother was a beloved president. i'm so sorry for you. i know the pain it must cause you, all of that? >> i don't know. >> rose: does anybody know? >> did bobby kennedy ever tell anybody? >> well, i spoke, there were two people on that call. one was johnson's secretary. >> rose: listening in. >> listening in, marie famer, he told her to liss then and take the wording of the oath 6 office. the other one is nicholas catsenback. >> rose: later to be attorney general. >> correct, at this moment he is deputy attorney general. and he is the one giving the oath. you know catsenback said to me could have called 100 people, johnson could have called a hundred people for the oath of office. every one knows, it's in the constitution. cohave called me. it was appalling that he called robert kennedy. >> for something like that. >> yes, at this moment. so i asked marie famer, can
you describe the call to me. and she says catsenback's voice was like steel. bobby's wasn't. i kept thinking he shouldn't be doing this. >> rose: thank you for coming today. >> it was a great pleasure to be here as all, charlie, thank you. >> rose: robert caro, thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org