Achievement in Design
Philippe Starck constantly seeks ways to bring love and happiness into our lives with objects and environments that light up the everyday.
For more than 30 years, this unconventional designer (asked what he wanted to be, he would reply "astrophysicist" or "composer") has poured the same enthusiasm into caring for his tribe and "making poetic products" so that we, his family and friends can enjoy a little bit of fantasy in our lives.
Childhood & early days
Philippe Starck spent his childhood under his father's drawing-board, with hours spent sawing, cutting, gluing, sanding, dismantling toys, bikes, motorbikes and various other objects. Hours spent taking apart and putting together whatever aroused his curiosity, remaking the world around him. His father, an inventor of airplanes, gave him the desire to create. His mother gave him a poetic vision of the world, an elegant approach to life that he calls "panache." Indeed, it was on his mother's advice that he studied design at Nissim de Camondo in Paris.
Several years and several prototypes later, leading Italian firms were entrusting him with our furniture. François Mitterand asked him to change his life at the Elysée, Café Costes became the café. He made the Royalton in New York and the Delano in Miami, to name but two, the first classic examples of a new idea of hotels.
Meanwhile, his architectural monsters sprung up around Japan to make him the leading exponent of expressionist architecture.
Hotels & restaurants: LIFE
Philippe Starck continues to shake up the traditions and culture of major cities around the world, for example with the Felix restaurant in Hong Kong, the Teatron in Mexico and more recently the Lan and the Volar Club in China, and the Bon in Moscow.
End 2006 saw the opening of the Katsuya in Los Angeles, the first in a series of Japanese restaurants which the American press has already singled out as "one of the most exciting restaurants of the past ten years."
Whether the Hudson in New York or the Clift in San Francisco, his hotels have brought a new dimension to the American landscape. Over in Buenos Aires, the Faena Hotel was named Best New Hotel 2005.
In London, the Jean-Paul Gaultier Gallery meets the Sanderson and St Martin’s Lane hotels. In Paris, he transformed what was once Marie-Laure de Noailles' private mansion into a dazzling crystal museum and a romantic, luxurious, audacious setting for Baccarat. More recently he input his timeless and creative vision to the public areas of one of the Parisian Palace Hotel, Le Meurice.
When Philippe Starck designs a hotel or restaurant, he pays more attention to what isn't there than what is, creating spaces which visitors, the "actors" of these places, will then inhabit and transform. These are spaces which will take the members of his "cultural tribe" out of themselves and, most importantly, towards something better.
More architectural projects, currently under way in Europe, China, the Middle East, Mexico and the United States, will transform these spaces into poles of attraction, pleasure and new encounters.
One such place is the Alhóndiga in Bilbao which will open in 2008. With it, one of Europe's most culture-rich cities will give its citizens and visitors over 40,000 square metres for discovery, culture and life.
Industrial design: a political act, design for all
An honest and enthusiastic citizen, Philippe Starck considers it his duty to share his subversive vision for a fairer world, where each of us must contribute to the bigger picture. Always and everywhere, he is tuned in to our dreams, desires and needs, and our responsibility towards the future, together with the necessity to respect his fellow citizens by making his work a political and civic act.
He went out on a limb very early on when he declared his intention to "give the best to as many people as possible," a lone voice when design was turned exclusively towards an elite. He imagined plastic furniture for leading Italian manufacturers. The Louis Ghost chair, one of his most technically and culturally accomplished pieces, is the ultimate modern object and heralds the "dematerialisation" that is one of the leitmotivs of his work.
As early as 1998, his "Good Goods" catalogue was proposing "non-products" to "non-consumers" for the next moral market.
Philippe Starck is present in our everyday with objects that are "good" before they are beautiful, intelligent objects that are filled with humanity: our televisions (Thomson), toothbrushes (Fluorcaril), pasta, lamps (Flos), tableware (Alessi), candlesticks (Baccarat), suitcases (Samsonite), kettles, knives, vases, clocks, scooters, motorbikes (Aprilia), desks, beds, bathrooms (Axor, Duravit), baths, strollers (Maclaren), mouses (Microsoft), in a word our Life…
Philippe Starck loves the sea. For Bénéteau, one of sailing's most venerable names, he reimagined First sailboats then Lagoon catamarans. And when a superyacht, Wedge Too, is given the Philippe Starck treatment it becomes "Boat of the Year." Forthcoming launches ("M") promise a philosophical, ecological and technological revolution.
Starck, the brands
An indefatigable designer, Philippe Starck works with leading names to develop his own product lines that mirror the body. Starck Eyes with Mikli are ergonomic glasses inspired by human joints. Starck with Fossil watches symbolise the elegance of intelligence when pared down to the strict minimum. And following on from his intelligent shoes, Starck Naked by Puma continues the story of human evolution with high-tech, elegantly sexy underwear for men and women.
All over the world, YOO by Starck apartments propose architectures and environments that exactly correspond to what members of different cultural tribes want.
Environment & innovation
Conscious of the world around him and respectful of Nature and the future of mankind, Philippe Starck was a pioneer when - ten years ago - he set up the organic food company OAO. In 2005 he joined La Amarilla to launch the first organic olive oil to be assembled like fine wine. For this designer who has always wanted to act more directly on the human body, it is vital that we give our bodies the best fuel, so our brains can better function to develop intelligence and, most of all, generate love, "one of the absolute finalities of our life on Earth."
Philippe Starck continues to work towards a better environment by designing hydrogen cars and tourism structures that will have zero impact on the environment.
His role as artistic director for Virgin Galactic sits perfectly with his absolute duty and desire to serve mankind and take it beyond its possibilities. Launched by Sir Richard Branson in 2004, its other founder-members being Paul Allen, Burt Rutan and Philippe Starck, the project sets out to make space travel an affordable reality. In three years' time, ordinary people could realise their dream and journey into space. Philippe Starck, a long-time fan of scientific works, is at the head of designing the new spaceship and the spaceport in New Mexico which will be made to the highest environmental standards. As the "guardian of the temple," he supervises the overall visual identity of this human adventure.
Described by the international press as "a crazy genius, revolutionary, subversive, visionary," Philippe Starck never tires of finding ways to transform our daily lives by sublimating our roots and the very wellspring of our being. The world's museums make no mistake: New York, Munich, London, Chicago, Kyoto, Barcelona and Paris amongst others have all shown his work as that of a master.
He is regularly asked to give talks on design but also on his original vision of human civilisation, such as at TED, the annual conference in California that brings together the thinkers and doers in the three fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design, or at the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit in 2007.
Philippe Starck has received numerous accolades in France, the United States and Italy, including Designer of the Year, the Grand Prix for Industrial Design, the Design Oscar, Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur and the Compasso d’Oro, among many others.
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