Product designer and mechanical engineer Tamiko Thiel turned computers into sculptures in the early 1980s before the Macintosh came out. Said Thiel:
“The general image of computers was IBM computers, racks of electronics. They looked like refrigerators or heating units. They didn’t have any identity”
Years later she found out that Steve Jobs wanted to hire her to design the NeXT computer. But she had already gone on to Germany to be an artist.
Nevertheless, her geometric reinterpretation of the computer continues to inspire the modern yet futuristic hardware designs we see in iPhones and gadgets today.
The Connection Machine machine now features in MOMA’s exhibition Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age, 1959–1989.