Having just received the Designer of the Decade Award from Esquire Spain, Philippe Starck is an ideal candidate for our profile series. His work is so varied-from buildings to boats, faucets to flip-flops-that Starck almost defies categorization.
1. WW Stool for Vitra
But let's give it a try. For our purposes, we're going to ignore Starck's larger projects such as hotel interiors and electric cars. If we simply stick to product design, we've got more than enough to admire. An early experiment in "dematerialisation," the WW Stool distilled the object into a slim, dynamic form-the skeleton of a stool.
2. Masters Chair for Kartell with Eugeni Quitllet
Starck's chairs progressively disappeared as he stripped away unnecessary material. The back of the Masters Chair seemingly offers the weight of spaghetti while actually cradling the body. Of course, Starck's greatest coup didn't come until he literally made the chair disappear with Louis Ghost.
3. Louis Ghost for Kartell
This phantom aesthetic is fitting, since Philippe Starck haunts me. Everywhere I turn, there he is, a ubiquitous presence in my life. On his official website, a biography reveals Starck is "always present where he is least expected," including my subconscious-and my kitchen.
4. Juicy Salif For Alessi
Juicy Salif for Alessi reveals another aspect of Starck that I admire: enquiry. The designer explains, "The necessity of all jobs should be questioned." And so Starck put the juicer on stilts, reshaped its head, and produced an alien. An alien that also makes easy work of fresh-squeezed orange juice.
5. Attila for Kartell
His investigations into the form, purpose, and matter of everyday objects often yield humor, as with Attila, which embraces Gnome Kitsch. Playfulness is evident in the designer's creations for children as well. Either nobody told Starck to "grow up" or he just didn't listen. But make no mistake, harnessing wonder is hard work.
6. Le Chien Savant for Magis Design
Not every mind can envision dogs that turn into desks or guns that get flipped on end and dipped in gold.
7. Guns Table Lamp for Flos
And then Starck sometimes enters the world of fairy tale fantasy, as with his umbrella chandelier, which I'd like to see in the next Baz Luhrmann movie.
8. Marie Coquine Chandelier for Baccarat
I'd like to end with fire. Because Philippe Starck is concerned with energy efficiency and the relationship between products and the greater good. His modular wood stove system reduces particulates-while looking spectacular and offering storage. It's simple...but it's revolutionary. Wood stoves usually require big clearances that limit furniture and object placement, not least of all books. Starck gives us heat and home.
9. Speetbox for Speeta
"Subversive, ethical, ecological, political, humorous... this is how I see my duty as a designer," explains Philippe Starck. For more information, go to www.starck.com.