Philippe Starck “democratic design”

Philippe Starck, world famous creator with multifaceted inventiveness, is always focused on the essential, his vision: that creation, whatever form it takes, must improve the lives of as many people as possible. This philosophy has made him one of the pioneers and central figures of the concept of “democratic design”. By employing his prolific work across all domains, from everyday products (furniture, a citrussqueezer, electric bikes, an individual wind turbine), to architecture (hotels, restaurants that aspire to be stimulating places) and naval and spatial engineering (mega yachts, habitation module for private space tourism), he continually pushes the boundaries and requirements of design, becoming one of the most visionary and renowned creators of the international contemporary scene. Philippe Starck and his wife, Jasmine, spend most of their time on airplanes or in “middles of nowhere”.

 Why did you decide to become a designer?

“I never chose to be a designer. This job chose me and I was weak enough to accept it because it was easy, because of my DNA. My father was an aircraft engineer and manufacturer. Today I often regret not having chosen a really useful profession that could save lives, scientist, doctor or fireman for instance. So, because I’m not interested by design nor architecture, I decided to do this job differently like an explorer, a politician, a poet, a philosopher, helping my community to get a better life.”

How would you describe your design process?

“A creator is a cultivator of magma. I am also an oyster farmer, and the process is the same: we move the mud, we turn the oysters, and in the end, we discover beautiful oysters That’s exactly what magma is, if you give it peace, if you enrich it regularly, it will grow, and at some point, it will lay an egg. But I do not stop there. I will test the egg, torment it thoroughly, and if I feel that there is something remaining, then it is perhaps worth showing to you.”

What is the role of design? How will it change in the future?

“We must understand that design was a temporary activity that dates back, as we know it, to the middle of the 20th century and will disappear in the middle of the 21st century. Today, the task of design is to try to make daily obligations bearable so that we can love them. But as all aspects of this life follow an interesting evolutionary process ; after the amoeba, the fish, the frog, the monkey and the super monkey we are today at the point where bionism and dematerialization are the next essential steps in our evolution. In the coming years, all the useless things around us will disappear one by one. The next designer will be our coach, our dietician. There is no future for design as we know it today but there are still unexplored territories.”

What is your point of view regarding contemporary digital culture?

“I’m not a digital person, I do not have a mobile phone because I have nothing to say and I do not need a computer because today, for creativity, I am better than a computer with my tracing paper and pencil. Digital is a fabulous tool to develop your creativity but cannot replace creativeness, at least today but what about tomorrow? With the A.I chair, that we recently launched with Kartell and Autodesk, we create a revolution. We open the door to something who have no culture, no memory, that is open to anything and we go from our regular intelligence to the infinity of intelligence.”

How does sustainability affect your work?

“Ecology is not a concept or a trend, it’s a duty. I was almost born with ecology, I grew up with this duty but it shouldn’t be something personal. When you create a project, the key is to find the legitimacy to exist. Today, we’re facing an emergency regarding ecology, consumption and growth. We can no longer throw things away so they must last physically, culturally and emotionally. Timelessness is the only thing that guarantees the longevity we need.”

What are you interested in right now? What would you like to create the most? 

“We continue to explore biotechnology through our STARCK BIOTECH PARIS eyewear brand. We continue to explore the emotional power of dematerialization with our STARCK PARIS perfumes collection. We will soon explore space with Axiom and the private International Space Station. And more recently, we opened the door to infinite intelligence thanks to A.I. As my wife always says, I have thousands of ideas per minute. But today, the only acceptable object would be something that bears a strong political representation, a new ecological reality or a new sexual identity.”

What advice would you give to young designers?

“I do not speak particularly to a young designer because a young person is young everywhere and because the rules are the same in all trades. But I will say very simply: do what you want, don’t listen to anybody, explore within yourself what is required for your job, ask yourself why you have to create, what is your legitimacy to exist, etc. No one is forced to be a genius but everyone is forced to participate in helping their community. We can be wrong. There are people who have been wrong but at least they tried.”

9Confidentiel Hotel Starck ©PhilippeGarcia

Amor Alajmo Starck ©Lido Vannucchi

Axiom Starck Habitation Module crew quarter interior

Kartell Autodesk

 La reserve a La Plage ©Gregoire Gardette / Facebook @StarckOfficial / Instagram @Starck