Philippe Starck, born in Paris, is a luminary in the world of design, stretching his talents from interior design to product creation, and even into architecture. His early exposure to engineering, thanks to his father’s profession, led him to study at the École Nissim de Camondo in Paris. Launching his first company in 1968, which specialized in inflatable objects, Starck’s reputation soared in the 1970s when he took on interior design projects for elite venues like Paris nightclubs La Main Bleue and Les Bains-Douches. His breakthrough came in the 1980s when he redesigned private apartments in the Élysée Palace for French President François Mitterrand, cementing his status as an international sensation. Throughout his career, Starck has been a chameleon, adapting his aesthetic to the needs and character of each client, whether designing state apartments or trendy nightclubs.
Starck’s signature design language often features fluid, organic forms and incorporates playful, unexpected details. Parallel to his fame in interior design, he has also built an impressive portfolio of industrial designs, ranging from boats for Bénéteau to household appliances like the iconic Juicy Salif juicer for Alessi. His work doesn’t just serve an aesthetic purpose; it aims to add an element of humor and surprise to everyday activities. For example, his designs include details like a metal apple holder in the rooms of the Delano Hotel, with a message promising daily apple replenishment. Starck’s populist vision for design is perhaps most evident in his product range, which offers affordability without sacrificing quality or innovation.
As an architect, Starck may not be as well-known, but his work bears the same hallmark characteristics of his interior and industrial designs. Notable projects include Tokyo’s Asahi Beer Hall and the Unhex Nani-Nani office building. His interest in sustainability led to designs like the Broom Chair for Emeco, made from waste materials. His eco-consciousness even extended to using traceable plastics over natural materials like wood and leather. Starck’s more recent works include interior designs for luxury hotels and restaurants such as Le Royal Monceau and La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich. Through years of evolving and broadening his design repertoire, Philippe Starck has stayed true to his original goal: to enrich lives with designs that are as functional as they are beautiful, always with a dash of whimsy.