Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Apple Park's 'rainbow' designed by Jony Ive for celebration honoring Steve Jobs, campus opening

Rumors about a multi-arch rainbow structure adorning Apple Park's main "spaceship" building have circulated since the peculiar addition was spotted in a drone flyover on Wednesday. According to a report on Thursday, the rainbow is part of a stage designed by Jony Ive's design team for an upcoming special event.

An article detailing what is referred to simply as "the rainbow" was recently posted to Apple's internal AppleWeb communication platform, informing employees that the structure is part of a celebration planned for May 17, reports Cult of Mac.

Dreamed up by Ive's team, the rainbow is the culmination of months of cooperation between groups at Apple, live event and concert rigging specialist TAIT and engineering firm Stageco.

As with all Apple products, the distinctive stage is meticulously crafted. Six aluminum arch segments incorporate smoothly curved tops and bottoms achieved by a machinist rolling the metal over a 12-day period. To achieve a seamless appearance, the arches are covered in a polycarbonate liner, while a UV-resistant coating protects the sections from fading under California's blistering sun.

Thirty machined components form the rainbow's underpinnings, while the entire assembly consists of some 25,000 parts. Apple designed the structure to be erected and dismantled as needed, according to the report.

Ive described the genesis of Apple Park's rainbow in an interview posted alongside the Apple Web article.

"Our goal was to create a stage that would become immediately recognizable as the Apple Stage," Ive said. "The idea for the rainbow was one of those rare occasions where the earliest thoughts worked on a number of different fronts."

Apple's CDO said working on a project for employees, whether it be Apple Park or a rainbow-themed stage, is a "special" and "motivational" experience. He presented a similar sentiment in 2017 when responding to flak about Apple Park's design, saying at the time that criticism from outside parties is "utterly bizarre" because the campus was built for employees, not the general public.

In the AppleWeb interview, Ive goes on to explain that the stage is a physical manifestation of Apple's rainbow-colored logo. Indeed, the rainbow's colors mimic those of the company's iconic logo, albeit in brighter shades.

"There is the resonance with the rainbow logo that's been part of our identity for many years," Ive said. "The rainbow is also a positive and joyful expression of some of our inclusion values and I think that one of the primary reasons the idea resonated so immediately and so profoundly with us was the form — the connection from an aesthetic design point of view. A semi-circle relates so beautifully and naturally to the form of the ring."

Ive and company imagined the stage as a three-dimensional object rather than a flat surface so passersby are able to appreciate it from all angles. And while it is located in a seemingly insignificant spot, the rainbow's unique design allows for its presence to be known over a wide area.

"My space in Apple Park is on the external part of the perimeter. But I can see the rainbow reflected in the ceiling all the way through to where I sit. That truly wasn't planned but one of those lucky accidents," Ive said. "We had planned the way in which the colors interplay between the discrete bands of the rainbow throughout the day making it more vital and fluid. There are some wonderful but subtle combinations and reflections."

It appears the rainbow will be removed following the May 17 celebration — itself something of a mystery — but, considering the effort that went into its creation, is likely to reappear at subsequent events.