In the bathroom with Philippe Starck
Philippe Starck was born in 1949 in Paris, where he also studied in the mid-60s. He is the ambassador of a new design course, provocative and playful, but at the same time extremely simple but brilliant. He has been described in many different ways, as a visionary genius, an inventor, a poet, a revolutionary person... Nowadays, he is one of the most original and prolific designers. He is also the winner of renowned Awards such as the Grand Prix National de la Création Industrielle, the Honour Award of the American Institute of Architects, the Red dot Award, the Good Design Award... just to mention a few that have contributed to his international recognition.
HIs projects are the result of the search for an enhanced version of reality and technological innovation. For the French designer, objects should aid to improve ones quality of life. He is also famous for his architectural work which includes residential housing, marinas, sports centres... moreover for interior design projects of prestigious hotels such as the Royalton in New York or London's Sanderson, but also for interiors of restaurants, stores and residences in Spain, France or Japan, to mention just a few.
His first big public recognition came when he completed his project for the official residence of the French President Mitterand and the interior and furniture design of the Parisian Café "Costes" (currently closed). Since then, he has designed numerous and varied objects, from scooters, motorcycles, yachts, television sets, phones, chandeliers, lamps, furniture, clothing, kitchen accessories and a long list of etcetera.
He has worked for a diversity of Brands such as Vitra, Puma, Cassina, Aprilia, Baccarat, Target, Seven Eleven, Alessi... for the latter brand he designed an iconic designer object that will eternally be linked to his name and works, the world famous Juicy Salif Citrus Squeezer. The urban legend reports that this functional, yet revolutionary and surprisingly designer juicer was conceived, or at least its blueprint, by Starck on a napkin at a pizzeria during a holiday stay at the sea, in Italy.
In the bathroom design field, the contribution of Philippe Starck has been remarkable and fabulous. He has been designing for premium brands such as Duravit, Axor, Hansgrohe, Hoesch... and his close collaboration with some of these brands has resulted in unique and exclusive collections, like the Axor Starck V tapware range, awarded the Best of the Best at the Interior Innovation Awards. It concerns a basin tap design with a transparent spout that creates a vortex of beauty that translates into an intense water experience.
Duravit and Philippe Starck have been working together for more than 25 years now, and on the occasion of their recent launch of the new bathroom series Cape Cod and ME by Starck, we had the opportunity to talk to the designer himself. In his opinion "Design nowadays marks an important time, it has become totally integrated in our society so that it is considered normal. Ultimately, for design the only important aspects are honesty and utility. First, it is important to choose a partner that is absolutely honest and a serious industrial, just like Duravit. And then you have to create a serving purpose product.
Starck is very clear in his statement: "with design we can't save lives, but we can certainly improve them, by creating useful design objects. It is, therefore, important to work with a partner like Duravit. Creating nice (attractive) products is easy, but if no one buys them, it lacks interest. The nice thing is to be able to provide good products at a good price. I think we have achieved this with the new series ME by Starck and Cape Cod for Duravit.
Philippe Starck declares that, "the durability of a high quality product should never be questioned and is fundamental as such, because nobody wants to change a basin every three years, since it is a part of the home decoration, perhaps for generations long. It has to be made perfectly. And this requirement is what all Duravit products meet".
Another fundamental aspect for the French designer is that design should respond to real needs, "something that we have accomplished with the ME by Starck series, because we have focused on real ergonomics, genuine movements, water flow reports, how to attract less dirt, or how to allow easy cleaning and maintenance." This seems very easy, but done with the most fundamental and structural honesty, it becomes the most incredible thing. The ME range has been simply designed with rigorous ergonomics and honesty".