Philippe Starck is an internationally acclaimed French creator, seen as one of the world’s top interior designers. Most of his designs have become cult objects due to their unique design, and his hotels are timeless icons that have added a new dimension to the global cityscape. An enthusiastic advocate of sustainability, this visionary recently developed the revolutionary concept of “democratic ecology” by creating affordable wind turbines for the home, soon to be followed by innovative wooden prefabricated ecological houses and solar boats. Today, CovetED focuses on the life of this amazing designer.
A career rich with 10,000 creations – completed or yet to come – global fame and tireless protean inventiveness should never overshadow the essential, Philippe Starck has a mission, a vision: that creation, whatever form it takes, must improve the lives of as many people as possible. Starck vehemently believes this poetic and political, rebellious and benevolent, pragmatic and subversive duty should be shared by everyone. He sums it up with the humour that’s set him apart from the very beginning: “No one has to be a genius, but everyone has to participate.”
Philippe Starck was born in 1949. From a childhood spent beneath the drawing tables of his aeroplane building, aeronautic engineer father, he retained a primary lesson: everything should be organised elegantly and rigorously, in human relationships as much as in the concluding vision that presides over every creative gesture. He’s convinced it’s this philosophy that allows for creativity beneficial to all and he works with unrelenting enthusiasm on even the tiniest detail.
In 1976, after the creation of several emblematic objects including a floating lamp and a portable neon sign, this intrepid dreamer designed an audacious decor for the night club, La Main Bleue – in Montreuil – demonstrating that no venue is less respectable than another just because of its eccentricity. He went on to complete the legendary Parisian nightclub Les Bains Douches and the Starck Club in Dallas.
At the same time, he founded his first industrial design company, Starck Product, which he later renamed Ubik after the famous Philip K. Dick novel. Here he initiated his collaborations with the biggest design manufacturers in Italy – Driade, Alessi, Kartell – and the world – Drimmer in Austria, Vitra in Switzerland and Disform in Spain, to mention but a few.
In 1983 Philippe Starck was discovered by the general public when, on the advice of Culture Minister Jack Lang, President François Mitterrand chose his project to decorate the private residence at the Elysée Palace. It symbolised an institutional recognition of design. The following year his international fame was confirmed thanks to the success of the Café Costes, a new venue that was both functional and elegant, that contained all the essence of Starck architecture while converging with the birth and blossoming of a community. His reinvention of the codes of the Parisian cafe made it the cafe par excellence.
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