Philippe Starck is one of the most renowned contemporary French designer/architects in the world. His work ranges from the most acclaimed buildings and interiors to the most ubiquitous kitchen tools.
Birth and childhood
Born in Paris in 1949 to an aircraft designer and manufacturer, Starck was initiated into the world of design at an early age; his childhood was spent drawing, cutting, dismantling and gluing things at his father’s workshop (Philippe Starck, n.d.).
Education and Career
During the mid-sixties, Starck attended the Ecole Nissim de Camondo in Paris. It was in 1968 when he started his first company, specializing in inflatable furniture. Between years 1976 to 1978, he became part of the design team of two night clubs in Paris, La Main Bleue and Les Bains-Douches, and in 1979, he founded his namesake company, Starck Products (Philippe Starck Biography, 2004).
Starck’s big break happened in 1982 when he was commissioned by the President of France, Mitterand to for the interior design and the refurbishment of his private apartments in Elysee Palace. From then he was able to found UBIK and became the designer of hotels and buildings around the world including Rouyalton Hotel in New York; Paramount Hotel in New York; Delano Hotel in Florida; Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles; Hudson Hotel in California; La Flamme Building in Tokyo; the Nani Nani office for Rikugo; Teatriz Café in Madrid; Groningen Museum in the Netherlands; The Green Baron Office Block in Osaka; and a whole street block in France, La Rue Starck, among others (Philippe Starck Biography, 2004).
Starck’s work is not limited to design and architecture of buildings. When his company became partners with Target Store, his designs started to penetrate the household. His works include the design of lines of products from furniture: tables, chairs, stools; electronics: lamps, radios, television; accessories and home tools: watches and toothbrushes and magazine racks; to kitchenware: his famous orange squeezer (Philippe Starck Biography, 2004).
Starck’s design philosophy can be best described as “democratic”. This is substantiated in his answers in many of his interviews.
He told People magazine, "Good design can and should be part of everyday life. I'm always looking for magic in reality. For the same price, you can give a lot more love and respect and service to people” (Tauber, 2002). His reason for such philosophy is “…to make possible the most joyful and exciting experiences for the maximum number of people (A Starck reality check at target, 2002)."
Consistent with this philosophy, Starck’s design can be characterized by the prominence of its natural, smooth and simple lines; each essential element is confused to one original design to evince style, simplicity and class but without the opulence commonly associated with design (Designer Spotlight: Philippe Starck, 2008).
A Starck reality check at target. (2002). Retail Merchandiser. Retrieved 16 April 2009 from http://www.allbusiness.com/retail-trade/4301093-1.html.
Designer Spotlight: Philippe Starck. (2008). Modern Design Blog. Retrieved 16 April 2009 from http://www.moderndesignblog.com/2008/07/designer-spotlight-philippe-starck.html.
Philippe Starck. (n.d.). In Design Technology. Retrieved 16 April 2009 from http://www.design-technology.org/starck1.htm.
Philippe Starck Biography. (2004). In Notable Biographies. Retrieved 16 April 2009, from http://www.notablebiographies.com/newsmakers2/2004-Q-Z/Starck-Philippe.html.
Tauber M. (2002). Starck Reality. People Magazine. Vol.58(22).