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Philippe Starck, born in 1949 in Paris, is a French designer internationally renowned. He built his reputation through his work in interior design, industrial design and architecture. All along his career, he has been able to challenge himself by diversifying its activities and innovating in every projects. He has created design furnitures, but also everyday objects, and even buildings in the world. One of its main objective as a designer, is to make the design accessible to the greatest number.
Starck, passionate designer
Son of an aeronautical engineer, it is quite naturally that Starck has found his way and turned to industrial design. After finishing his studies at the Nissim de Camondo school in Paris, he founded his first design firm in 1968, specialized in the manufacture of inflatable objects. But very quickly, in the 1970s, he expended his activities and started to be interested in interior design. On this occasion, he began by creating the interiors of Parisian nightclubs such as “The Hand blue”, or the “Bains-Douches”.
Talented interior designer
In 1983, Philippe Starck’s notoriety exploded, following the renovation of the private apartments of the french president at the time Francois Mitterrand, in the Elysée Palace. After that, he secured a contract with the Café Coste in Paris, which gave him the opportunity to show his work to everyone. He says that he imagined the scenery of this classic Parisian café after a Metro station in Budapest. Following this project, requests from prestigious institutions exploded around the world, as in New York, where Royalton and Paramount hotels have used his services.
Thanks to his achievements, the designer is known for his modern and innovative vision. He never creates twice the same decor and although his work is recognizable, it attempts to customize the design of each new location according to its history and its architectural style. He has no preference for any material in particular and just try to respect the demands of its customers. His style and furnitures are all generally characterised by fluid and clean lines, while being original. The designer likes to add fun and amusing touches in his sets, making his creations unique. He is able to redesign sumptuous and old places, just equally as ultra-modern nightclubs.
Although its interior designer career is a success, one of the first ambition of Philippe Starck is to provide design to everyone. That’s why, in parallel of its interior design work, he started the creation and the distribution of everyday objects. In 1979, he founded an industrial design company called "Starck Product", renamed "Ukik" thereafter. He imagined and then sold all kind of products from the simple toothbrush to the household equipments, and furnitures. Its purpose was to democratize design to the public by making it affordable, while it was usually reserved for the elite. To make it, he had the idea to market its products by mail via popular catalogs such as Les Trois Suisses or La Redoute. Its products became really popular, really fast and they are still present in every homes across the world. Starck is one of the first designer to have lowered the price of design objects without lowering their quality. He is convinced that design is not only about making aesthetic objects, but also about making them practical. It always seeks to invent items which can improve people’s lives, by their ease of use. He also hopes to bring a smile to its customers, by inventing fun and surprising objects.
To achieve his goal, he worked in partnership with many brands such as Fluocaril, for whom he produced toothbrushes; Vitra, for whom he created office furnitures, but also Panzani, Glacier or Decaux etc.
Philippe Starck has to its credit, the realisation of a vast range of objects of all kinds. Passionate about design in all its forms, its greatest strength is not to refuse any challenge. That’s for this reason that all the world companies are likely to use its services. For example, he worked for Microsoft and built the first computer design mouse: the Optical mouse. He also worked in fashion by designing shoes for Puma, or travel bags for Louis Vuitton. He even designed ships, as a Yacht for the famous Steve Jobs, who by the way, died before finishing to pay the one-hundred-million-dollars he owed to the designer.
In terms of design furniture, his most notable works are the “Marie chair” that he created for Kartell, which was the first totally transparent polycarbonate chair ever invented. This chair has surprised the public by its incredible aesthetic and its amazing lightness. The second most popular of his work, is the “Louis Ghost chair”, named like that for its reminiscent style of Louis XVI, which has bee sold over a million and a half copies.
Although his work in this area are somewhat less known, the architecture is indeed included in its activities. He primarily designed buildings in Japan, specifically in Tokyo. The two most notable of them being the "Asahi Beer Hall", a large building in the shape of a beer glass in granite, with its recognizable flame-like structure on the roof and the "UNHEX-Nani Nani office building", a large green building strangely shaped, coming straight from a science fiction film!
Thanks to his works of architecture, he earned an award from the Harvard Design School.
The ecological design
Starck, primarily known for his inventiveness and his extraordinary concept of "universal design", is also concerned about the environment and the ecology. He created his own company of organic food AOA, and the Good Goods catalog in partnership with the french catalog “La Redoute” to sell eco-friendly products. He also invented individual wind turbines to produce electricity and worked in the creation of non-polluting vehicles such as solar boat or hydrogen-working cars. As a designer, his philosophy is not to reduce the pace of people's consumption but to adapt objects to the ecological needs of the earth, by finding solutions to make them environmentally friendly. And for we need to use creativity. He calls himself this concept the "Democratic Ecology", which remind us its concept of design for all.
A popular designer
Philippe Starck built its world reputation thanks to its creative, ecological and democratic engagements, but also thanks to its unconventional personality. He appears quite frequently in the media where he outlines his vision of the world and design. He recently revealed its new project; the whole designing of a luxury hotel in the city of Metz, in France. The site is planned for 2018.
You can find news of his projects on his website www.starck.com.
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