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STARCK, PHILIPPE

 

Philippe Starck, born in Paris in 1949, the ‚Super Designer’ also called the 'Pop Star of Design'. Educated in Paris at the École Camondo in 1968 he founded his first design firm specializing in inflatable objects. In 1969, he became art director of his firm along with Pierre Cardin.

Although a school drop-out he jump-started his career by designing two nightclub interiors in Paris in the 1970's. The success of the clubs won the attention of President Francois Mitterand, who asked Starck to refurbish one of the private apartments in the Elysee Palace in the early 80’s.

1984, Starck designed the interior of the Café Costes, Paris, and was on his way to becoming a design celebrity. In quick succession, he created the elegant interiors of the Royalton and Paramount hotels for Ian Schrager in New York, the Delano in Miami and the Mondrian in Los Angeles. He also began to design chairs, lamps, motorbikes (Aprillia Moto 6.5), boats and a line of house wares and kitchen utensils, like his Juicy Salif for Alessi.

During the 1980's and 90's Starck continued his prolific creativity. His products have sensual, appealing forms suggestive of character or personal identity and Starck often conferred upon them clever, poetic or whimsical names (for example, his Rosy Angelis lamp, the La Marie chair and playful Prince Aha stool.) Starck's furniture also often reworks earlier decorative styles. For example, the elegant Dr. No chair is a traditional club chair made unexpectedly of injection-molded plastic. While the material and form would seem to be contradictions, it is just such paradoxes that make Starck's work so compelling.

Starck's approach to design is subversive, intelligent and always interesting. His objects surprise and delight even as they transgress boundaries and subvert expectations. During the 90's Starck has also begun to promote product longevity and to stipulate that morality, honesty and objectivity become part of the design process. He has said that the designer's role is to create more "happiness" with less. One can almost hear echoes of Charles and Ray Eames, who "wanted to make the world a better place."

He has obtained many important acknowledgements such as the Grand Prix National de la Création industrielle and the Honor Award of the American Institute of Architects, he considers himself as "a Japanese architect, an American art director, a German industrial designer, a French artistic director, an Italian furniture designer".

For all his fame and fashionableness, Starck's work remains a serious and important expression of 20th century creativity.