Creative minds always find their way through creating something out of nothing, unceasingly feeling responsible for making society a better place to live. These minds are extraordinary and need to fulfill their thirst for creation and push their limits. Psychology and neuroscience researchers have proven that creativity involves a complex interplay between spontaneous and controlled thinking, the ability to both spontaneously brainstorm ideas and deliberately evaluate them to determine whether they’ll actually work out of Albert Einstein’s sayings: “Creativity is intelligence having fun “.
One of the limitless, spontaneous creatives of our time is Philippe Starck, a French designer known for his free spirit and for playing with lines, materials, and shapes to create exquisite designs that reflect his simplicity and surprising openness. Starck is the representation of the painstaking power of design, from TULUM with Duravit to mega-yachts. He studied at the École Camondo in Paris, a school of product design and interior architecture. His creations are shown all over the world in museums and exhibitions. He set up his first industrial design company, Starck Product, in 1976.
A Glimpse of Childhood
For someone who was raised by an aeronautical engineer father, he kept a primary lesson: that everything should be organized elegantly and rigorously, in human relationships and in the terminal vision that manages every creative gesture. Throughout his life, he has been convinced it’s this philosophy that allows him to keep attention to all the details that complete his artwork canvas. Starck once said in an interview in 2021with Jonathan Wingfield: “I’m a kid who dreams, and I’ve got that simultaneous lightheartedness and gravity of children. I fully accept the rebellion, the subversion, and the humour.” Laughingly he completes: “There is no work in my life! There’s only playing, curiosity, generosity, and vision”.
Starck’s ideology in life comes from his love for life and lies in the commitment to humanity; he said once, “If there is no vision, humane, social or loving, a project doesn’t have the legitimacy to exist.”. For him, every creature is like producing music in his head where you feel unique sounds in every part of his designs, playing a part of a lost symphony. Starck believes that each person has his own unique creativity, like a fingerprint, whereas he wanted to encourage youth and enhance their creative abilities by federating 220 million unemployed people and turning them into thinkers. Out of this belief, he released Ideas Box in 2011 for Bibliothèques Sans Frontières, which aims to give the refugee populations access to culture and information.
For Starck, as he explained, “Whether it’s a toothbrush, an airplane, or a chair, it’s always the same philosophy: to think about what the user will gain”. His always-conceptual career was that design should be useful to as many people as possible as a measure of good design. As he said about his philosophy: “Political, ethical, subversive, ecological, fun: this is how I see my duty as a creator.” Thus, his “democratic design” concept which led him to pay more attention to the mass-produced consumer goods rather than one-off pieces, seeking ways to reduce cost and improve the quality of mass-market goods that are not just aimed at upper-tiered incomes.
Out of the quote “Creativity is the greatest form of rebellion”, Starck believed that to be a designer means to be creative, not just designing as a process, but further aiming to offer the best possible service while using the minimum of materials, more importantly, it must improve their lives. He aims for his designs to trigger emotions for everyone; for Starck, nothing more than knowing these surprises will provoke love or rejection as he always repeated, “An object that is instantly accepted doesn’t have the right to exist”.
He vehemently believed in commitment to the effect of his creations on the ecosystem and his deep understanding of contemporary mutations, which constantly helped him change the world through his creations. Starck’s limitless iconic creativity had a wide range of designs, including interior design, architecture, furniture, lighting, Vehicles, and artistic management such as vertigo (Saba) and the Zik earphones for Parrot.
One of Starck’s first creative architecture designs in Tokyo was Nani Nani, which was completed in 1989, was striking in its authenticity. Its iconicity comes from the powerful impression on the surrounding environment without destabilizing it while maintaining the greatest respect for its context. He covered the building with a living material that evolves with time. As usual from Starck, his work comes explicitly both ethical and humanist.
The most famous cities in the world have become an exhibition to present Starck’s interior designs, for instance, Paramount Hotel in New York, Saint Martin’s Lane in London, the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood, and the Café Costes in Paris, which made him an international star. Café Costes’ interior design represents by its minimalistic lines of furniture, for instance, the chairs which were as intelligent and light as a successful example of contemporary furniture. Starck won 14 Oscars for his design.
Starck highlights the essential, extracting the minimum of every structure, to offer creations closest to Man and Nature, more adaptable to the future. One of his shining designs of furniture was the Fenc-e Nature collection of outdoor furniture, which was designed by Starck for Cassina. The concept, defined by Starck as a “lifestyle collection of laid-back elegance”, includes an armchair, a two-seater sofa, a three-seater sofa, and a coffee table available at two different heights. The collection was bought nicely with nature through Starck’s chosen materials with organic, almost natural, forms and tactile elements.
One of the most famous, elegant, and minimalist of Starck’s designs for vehicles is Motor Yacht A. Starck inspired his design from the movement of the wave in the sea. He wanted the Yacht to be invisible in the sea, to appear like a whale in the water.
Philippe Starck is certainly one of the brilliant minds that will keep surprising the world with his vibrant, stimulating, and phantasmagorical creations. Starck is a great role model as an architect, designer, and artist, above all as a human that constantly shows respect for both human and natural heritage. His spans more than 30 years was crowned with receiving the National Order of the Legion of Honour in 2000.
- PHILIPPE STARCK BIOGRAPHY BY JONATHAN WINGFIELD (2021). Starck official website [online] (last updated 2022) available at: https://www.starck.com/about [Accessed 13. Jul.2022].
- PHILIPPE STARCK DESIGNS (2022) Starck official website [online] (last updated 2022) available at: https://www.starck.com/design [Accessed 13. Jul.2022].