Philippe Starck, 2006
January 18, 1949 |
Philippe Starck (born 1949) is a French designer known since the start of his career in the 1980s for his interior, product, industrial and architectural design including furniture and objects that have simple but inventive structures.
The son of an aeronautical engineer, Starck studied at the École Camondo in Paris. An inflatable structure he imagined in 1969 was a first incursion into questions of materiality, and an early indicator of Starck's interest in where and how people live. Starck's designs brought him to the attention of Pierre Cardin who offered him a job as artistic director of his publishing house.
While working for Cardin, Starck set up his first industrial design company, Starck Product – which he later renamed Ubik after Philip K. Dick's novel – and began working with manufacturers in Italy – Driade, Alessi, Kartell – and internationally, including Austria's Drimmer, Vitra in Switzerland and Spain's Disform. His concept of democratic design led him to focus on mass-produced consumer goods rather than one-off pieces, seeking ways to reduce cost and improve quality in mass-market goods.
In 1983, the French President François Mitterrand, on the recommendation of his Minister of Culture Jack Lang, chose Starck to refurbish the president's private apartments at the Élysée. The following year he designed the Café Costes.
Starck's output expanded to include furniture, decoration, architecture, street furniture, industry (wind turbines, photo booths), bathroom fittings, kitchens, floor and wall coverings, lighting, domestic appliances, office equipment such as staplers, utensils (including a juice squeezer and a toothbrush), tableware, clothing, accessories (shoes, eyewear, luggage, watches) toys, glassware (perfume bottles, mirrors), graphic design and publishing, even food (Panzani pasta, Lenôtre Yule log), and vehicles for land, sea, air and space (bikes, motorbikes, yachts, planes). The buildings he designed in Japan, starting in 1989, went against the grain of traditional forms. The first, Nani Nani, in Tokyo, is an anthropomorphic structure, clad in a living material that evolves over time. The thesis being: design should take its place within the environment but without impinging on it; an object must serve its context and become part of it.
A year later he designed the Asahi Beer Hall in Tokyo, a building topped with a golden flame. This was followed in 1992 by Le Baron Vert office complex in Osaka. Starck's buildings, while dedicated to work, are no less instilled with life and its constant effervescence. In France he designed the extension of the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD) in Paris (1998).
The Alhondiga, a more recent project, is a 43,000 sq. m culture and leisure venue in Bilbao that opened in 2010. Starck, who loves ships and the sea, designed the new infrastructure for the Port Adriano harbour on the south-west bay of Palma de Mallorca, and was also artistic director for the interior. It opened in April 2012. He also designed Steve Jobs' yacht, Venus, which launched in October 2012.
For the past thirty years Philippe Starck has been designing hotels all over the world, including the Royalton in New York in 1988, the Delano in Miami in 1995, the Mondrian in Los Angeles, the St Martin's Lane in London in 1999, the Sanderson, also in London, in 2000, and the complete 2001 renovation of the historic Clift in San Francisco with its updated art-deco bar, the Redwood Room. In South America, Philippe Starck designed the inside and outside of the Hotel Fasano in Rio de Janeiro in 2007 using materials such as wood, glass and marble. He then turned his attention to luxury hotels: in 2008, Hôtel Meurice and the Royal Monceau in 2010.
From 1990, Philippe Starck has worked to democratize quality "designer" hotels, beginning with the Paramount in New York. Offering rooms at $100/night, it became a classic in its genre. In 2008, Starck brought this humanist concept to Paris as the Mama Shelter. A second Mama Shelter opened in Marseille in 2012. In April 2015, Mama Shelter had six hotels with new locations in Bordeaux, Istanbul, Los Angeles and Lyon. 
In 2010, Philippe Starck opened the Co(o)riche Hotel at the Dune du Pyla.
In North America, in the 2000s, Philippe Starck with entrepreneur Sam Nazarian created the concept for SLS, a chain of luxury hotels. The Bazaar lobby at SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills quickly became a public space with its tapas restaurants, Norwegian health bar, pâtisserie and a Moss concept store.
Philippe Starck has several restaurants to his credit: Bon (2000), Mori Venice Bar (2006) and Le Paradis du Fruit (2009) in France, and the notable launch of Katsuya in Los Angeles in 2006, the first in a series of Japanese restaurants. The A'trego opened in Cap d'Ail in 2011. He designed the interior and exterior of Ma Cocotte, a restaurant that launched in September 2012 at the Saint-Ouen flea market near Paris. In 2013, he designed Miss Ko, an Asian-centric concept restaurant in Paris.
In November 2012, Starck published his first book of interviews, Impression d'Ailleurs, with Gilles Vanderpooten. In it, he expresses his view of the challenges facing the world to come – ecology, solidarity, youth, science – and, as a humanist, suggests ways we can make a difference.
His work is seen in the collections of European and American museums, including the Musée National d'Art Moderne (to which he has donated several pieces, in particular prototypes) the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the MOMA and the Brooklyn Museum in New York City, the Vitra Design Museum in Basel and the Design Museum in London. More than 660 of his designs were inventoried in French public collections in 2011.
Alongside his work Philippe Starck partnered with Moustache Bikes for the M.A.S.S. (Mud, Asphalt, Sand and Snow). A portfolio of four e-bikes that use a Bosch electrical engine and battery pack.
He also helped to design the concept smart phone MI MIX for one of the largest cell phone makers, Chinese Xiaomi company. The MI MIX is a 6.4-inch device features a striking bezel-less display.
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Through his "democratic design" concept, Starck has campaigned for well-designed objects that are not just aimed for upper-tiered incomes. He has expressed this as a utopian ideal, approached in practice by increasing production quantities to cut costs and by using mail-order, via Les 3 Suisses. In January 2013 he redesigned the Navigo travel pass.
One of the ways Philippe Starck has economized costs for the public, is his plastic-furniture line, producing pieces such as the Kartell Louis Ghost chair, over a million of which have been sold. He has also been involved in the development of Fluocaril toothbrushes to bathroom fittings for Duravit, Hansgrohe, Hoesch and Axor, from Alessi's Juicy Salif lemon squeezer to Zikmu speakers, Zik headphones by Parrot, Laguiole knives, Starckeyes glasses by Mikli and the Marie Coquine lamp for Baccarat.
Sometimes pointed political messages can be found in projects, such as the subversive Gun Lamp (Flos, 2005), the Superarchimoon floor lamp (Flos, 2000), in fact a giant architect's lamp standing 217 centimetres high, the Haaa!!! and Hooo!!! lamps he imagined with the American artist Jenny Holzer (Flos/Baccarat, 2009) and the chandeliers in the Darkside collection, featuring the Zenith chandelier (Baccarat, 2005).
With environment and ecological concerns, he created the Good Goods catalogue with La Redoute. He also set up AOA, an organic food company. His latest eco-friendly designs are the V+ Volteis electric car with Volteis, the Pibal bike for the City of Bordeaux, Zartan chairs for Magis, and Broom by Emeco.
- "Philippe Starck French, born 1949". moma.org. Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- Les Années 80, Flammarion, 1984
- Le Petit Larousse Illustré 2012
- "The who's who of design. Name: Starck Philippe, born 18 January 1949, son of Andre Starck, aeronautics engineer. His family originally coming from Alsace region, before his grand father had moved to Paris. Studies: Ecole Camondo in Paris. Profession: designer, boss of Ubik. Distinctions: Award for the Paramount Hotel in New York (1992), Best Design Oscar for the Beneteau yacht (1990); Platinum Circle Award (Chicago 1987), Designer of the Year (1985). Management n°24, p 122, February 1997
- Designs on love, Le Monde, 10 February 2008
- Philippe Starck pulled off his first feat with his interior for the Parisian nightclub and restaurant Les Bains-Douches, followed by Café Costes, "Psychoanalysis of the Starck Object", Le Monde, 27 January 1994
- The master of metamorphosis, Philippe Starck has transformed this former oil and wine warehouse into an arts and leisure centre. Each function has its own space, defined by set theory. Figaroscope, June 2010
- Just over a year since the death of Apple's founder, Steve Jobs' yacht, designed by Philippe Starck ... was moored in the Netherlands where it is being completed. L'Express, October 2012
- Thornburg, Barbara (16 December 2001). "Suites of San Francisco". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
- Starck invents tomorrow's luxury hotel, l'Express, 15 September 2010
- Starck reveals all, Les Échos, 15 January 2010
- "Mama is getting Bigger" (PDF). Accor.com. 28 October 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- "Lodha Group partners with Philippe Starck Partners". India Infoline. 28 December 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- Chadha, Sunainaa (29 November 2013). "Lodha bets big on Central London, Canadian Embassy is just the first stop". First Post (India). Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- Design Portal, 20th and 21st century objects and furniture in French public collections (archive)
- "Philippe Starck desenhou a mais bela bicicleta elétrica". Www.maismotores.net. R Barros. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "So it is absolutely possible to talk about a utopian project with Starck", Benoît Heilbrunn, Starck in Words, 2003
- Philippe Starck waived his fee for designing this new-generation card, said transport authority STIF. Its pared-down design is intended to make it last, Le Parisien, January 2012
- "I'm against beautiful objects. I prefer good objects [...]. I'll stop when my chairs cost fifty bucks", L'Express, 22 October 1998
- "Philippe Starck sets in motion an education of the masses. To the greatest number of people, he distributes forms that educate the eye […] From the minute to the immense, Starck marks out the paths that reconcile aesthetic, ethical and political", Michel Onfray, Starck in Words, 2003
- I'm convinced that for many, the political nature of his work is not only hard to detect but of little interest [...] yet for most of us, the most sensational thing about Starck's architecture and design is the combination of fun and the unexpected, Zoom sur Philippe Starck, Courrier International, 2 September 1995
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