Philippe Starck

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Philippe Starck
Phillippe Starck 2011.jpg
Philippe Starck, 2011
Born(1949-01-18) January 18, 1949 (age 65)
Paris, France
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Philippe Starck
Phillippe Starck 2011.jpg
Philippe Starck, 2011
Born(1949-01-18) January 18, 1949 (age 65)
Paris, France

Philippe Starck is a French product designer and interior designer, born 18 January 1949 in Paris.[1] He is equally well known as an interior designer, a designer of consumer goods, and for his industrial design and his architectural creations. Philippe Starck started his career in the 1980s.[2]


The son of an aeronautics engineer, Starck studied, when attending school, at the École Camondo in Paris. The 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 iconoclast designs brought him to the attention of Pierre Cardin who offered him a job as artistic director of his publishing house.

At the same time, Starck set up his first industrial design company, Starck Product - which he later renamed Ubik[3] after Philip K. Dick's famous novel - and began working with manufacturers in Italy – Driade, Alessi, Kartell – and internationally, including Austria's Drimmer, Vitra in Switzerland and Spain's Disform, to name but some. 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.[4]

In 1983, the French President François Mitterrand, on the recommendation of his Minister of Culture Jack Lang, chose his project to refurbish the president's private apartments at the Élysée, a decision that was seen as symbolising public acknowledgement of design. The following year he designed the Café Costes.[5]

Starck's prolific output gradually extended to every area in which design can have its say: furniture, decoration, architecture, street furniture, industry (wind turbine, photo booth, etc.), bathroom fittings, kitchens, floor and wall coverings, lighting, domestic appliances, office equipment (stapler, etc.), utensils (including a juice squeezer and a toothbrush), tableware, clothing, accessories (shoes, eyewear, luggage, watches, etc.) toys, glassware (perfume bottles, mirrors, etc.), graphic design and publishing, even food (Panzani pasta, Lenôtre Yule log), and vehicles for land, sea, air and space (bike, motorbike, yacht, plane, etc.). The buildings he designed in Japan, as of 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 message was clear: yes, 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 sperm. 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 made 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.[6] Starck, who loves ships and the sea, designed the new infrastructure for 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 Job's yacht, Venus, which launched in October 2012.[7]

For the past thirty years Philippe Starck has been designing hotels all over the world. He imagined 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, and the Sanderson, also in London, in 2000. Still 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, Le Meurice and the Royal Monceau in 2010.[8][9]

From 1990, Philippe Starck embarked on another crusade to democratise 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 generous, humanist concept to Paris as the Mama Shelter. A second Mama Shelter opened in Marseille in 2012, with a further three scheduled for 2013 in Lyon, Bordeaux and Istanbul. In 2010, Philippe Starck opened the Co(o)riche Hotel in the exceptional setting of the Dune du Pyla.

In North America, in the 2000s, Philippe Starck with entrepreneur Sam Nazarian create the concept for a chain of luxury hotels, named SLS. The Bazaar lobby at SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills quickly became a public space with its tapas restaurants, Norwegian health bar, pâtisserie and the fabled Moss concept store.


As someone who believes in nurturing both body and soul,[10] 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. More recently, he designed both the inside and outside of Ma Cocotte, a new 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 2011, Lodha Group appointed Phillippe Starck for "yoo inspired by Starck", to design the residential development at New Cuffe Parade, Mumbai.[11][12]

In November 2012, Starck published his first book of interviews, Impression d'Ailleurs, with Gilles Vanderpooten. In it, he delivers an incisive, offbeat view of the challenges facing the world to come - ecology, solidarity, youth, science - and, as a humanist, suggests ways we can make a difference.

Democratic design and democratic ecology[edit]


Through his "democratic design" concept, Starck campaigns for well-designed, quality objects that are not just reserved for an elite. He would put this utopian idea[13] into 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.[14]

One of the ways Philippe Starck makes design available to all[15] is his plastic furniture, producing pieces such as the Kartell Louis Ghost chair, over a million of which have been sold. From 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, including the latest to date, the LOG, Starckeyes glasses by Mikli or the luxurious Marie Coquine lamp for Baccarat, Starck is part of our everyday.[16]

A constant will to deliver a political message[17] hasn't prevented Starck from pulling off some projects, such as the subversive Gun Lamp (Flos, 2005), the Superarchimoon floor lamp (Flos, 2000), in fact a giant architect's lamp standing 214 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.

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, 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.[18]

Philippe Starck was the first designer to participate in the TED Talks (Technology, Entertainment & Design).


  1. ^ An internationally renowned designer of furniture and objects having simple but inventive structures. His work symbolically expresses forms and space. Le Petit Larousse Illustré 2012
  2. ^ Les Années 80, Flammarion, 1984
  3. ^ "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
  4. ^ Designs on love, Le Monde, 10 February 2008
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ Starck invents tomorrow's luxury hotel, l'Express, 15 September 2010
  9. ^ Starck reveals all, Les Échos, 15 January 2010
  10. ^ Dinner is served with Philippe Starck, Le Figaro, 24/03/2007
  11. ^ "Lodha Group partners with Philippe Starck Partners". India Infoline. 28 December 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ "So it is absolutely possible to talk about a utopian project with Starck", Benoît Heilbrunn, Starck in Words, 2003
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ "I'm against beautiful objects. I prefer good objects [...]. I'll stop when my chairs cost fifty bucks", L'Express, 22 October 1998
  16. ^ "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
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ Design Portal, 20th and 21st century objects and furniture in French public collections (archive)

External links[edit]