Philippe Starck – His work and philosophy


What is the creation? Human act which exists from time the man started to exist. Creation is an embodied of ideas and its appearance depends form time in which we live. It is story about human freedom based on endless imagination.

How are design of the modern age, artist’s inspirations and what freedom means, today? The advanced technological era we are living in is shared between people and machines which exist together. Computers and electronic gadgets, means more then only casual devices, those are symbols of modern time and icons of human achievements.

Design infiltrates each aspect of our lives as a product for sale. Sometimes, however, the question is about context of it on the social, political or ecological fields, because today each of us have opportunity to value the products created for mass by artist and designers. Among plenty of name-brands on design area is one of the most interesting, the most unique, the most independent and the most well-known – Philippe Starck.

He was born in 1949 in Paris. His father was an aircraft engineer and mother was a painter. Both, creative parents put great influence on young Philippe’s personality. After graduation from private school ‘Ecole Nissim de Camondo’ in Paris and in 1968, he established his first company, specialising in inflatable objects. Year after he became an artistic director for Pierre Cardin. Next several years he is working in the USA and France creating  residential and commercial, between them New York’s ‘Royalton’ or Paris’ nightclubs ‘La main bleu’. and ‘Les Baines-Douches’. In 1979 he founded his next business ‘Starck Product’ and 3 years later he designed privet apartment in the Elysee Palace for President of France Francois Mitterrand. It was the turning point in his career. Next commissions came quickly from France as Café ‘Costes’ in Paris and abroad from Tokyo like Café ‘Manin’ or next ‘La Flamme’, building for Asahi brewery and Hotel ‘Royalton’ in New York. His architecture and interiors are dominated by mix of unreal and exotic vision. He manipulates combination of sharp, straight lines and curvilinear, gentle shapes. His colour pallet is also surprising. Clean, light tones, contrasted with rich, florid hues.

‘I don’t design apartments; I help people to design them.’ P. Starck

As a creator Starck is unclassified and unlimited in his ideas. His range of interests is both, the space in which we are living as goods we are using. Starck’s works could be building or room, piece of furniture or boat, lamp or toothbrush, clothing or electronic device. His artistic philosophy gives people objects that could improve their live in aesthetical and quality range.

‘In all my life, I never speak about design and architecture; I always speak about our life: our fight, our pain, our difficulties, our dreams, our vision, our utopia.’ P. Starck

He collaborated with most of top-world brands such as Flos, Alessi, Hansgrohe, Microsoft, Virgin, among many, but as an independent creator he is also a part of his own undertaking as idea of ‘Good Goods’, organic food company or international developers, ‘Yoo’ company. Social activity of Starck is as important part of his publicity as his artistic act. He promotes healthy lifestyle, aesthetic solutions embodied by his product, ecological debate about the behaviour and eco-materials and freedom as main human destiny. This simple philosophy is supported by his vegetarianism, great emphasis for ecological neutral materials as plastic, for example, his organic ventures, his battles for low price of his products and of course his purist, clear, design.

‘I am not a city guy. I am not a fashion victim. I live mainly on my oyster farm in the southwest of France, on a small island with 12 houses and without cars, electricity, or water. It’s a very rough life, a very basic life.’ P. Starck

Despite of his ecological concerns other fascination of Starck is high-technology and human intelligence. Both of these factors have great influence on his design not only in case of hi-tech objects but also in connection with creation of furniture, clothes or home objects. Each of the pieces of Starck’s objects are infiltrate by his imaginative nature, even oriental chic and sexy look. But, real gift of his dreams is present in his interior design realisations. Common feature of his most interiors is simplicity in furnishing with flamboyant, fantastic objects as come from dreams or magic world. His design has something from magical world and something from poetry, but main principles are clarity and light based on the formula ‘less is more’

‘My job is to drive the philosophy, to keep the direction, to be the guard of the temple. These travelers will see the world is small, fragile, alone.’ P. Starck

Creativity and innovations of Starck was appreciated by many of cultural, public and educational organisations, he was awarded by Harvard Excellence in Design Award (U.S., 1997), Pratt Institute Black Alumni Award (U.S., 2001), Five Star Diamond award as world best designer (2005), Prix Madrid Creatividad (2006), CNBC International Property best interior design Awards (2008), The Fashion Group International, Inc. honours Philippe Starck, Night of Stars (2008), for example, but what is fundamental in his work is that his objects put great does of fantasy and fun in our lives.


‘I have not created a persona. …when somebody asks me something, I answer. I work. I am a worker. I work at five o’clock in the morning. …that’s why, thank you very much, to have created the persona, this public image called ‘Starck’—no. It’s you who needs the image, not me.’ P. Starck


About the Author

Author: Christopher W Adach


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