By Ridhi Kale
A rapid fire round with French designer Philippe Starck, the genius behind several thousands of design products, interiors, and buildings.
He prefers to work alone, hates giving interviews and has designed everything from toothbrushes and lamps to space luggage and hotels. Philippe Starck is as intriguing as his designs are innovative. India Today HOME caught up with the legendary designer at India Design Forum’s (IDF) recent Design Talks in Colombo, where he was presented with the IDF Lifetime Achievement Award.
A day in the life of Philippe Starck
I have two types of day. A good day is when I’m alone with my wife and my daughter in a cabana, in the middle of nowhere, with no electricity, no water and no cars. From 6 o’clock in the morning to the first bottle of champagne we open usually at 7 o’clock at night, I’m alone in front of my desk, dreaming; and drawing my projects. Then, there is the bad day, when I’m constantly on a long plane journey speaking nonstop, in meetings and interviews. We live in society of communication so I understand this and I should be happy to have the opportunity to speak. But speaking is not my job. I’m a professional dreamer.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on the next international space station for private tourism. In four billion years, when the sun will implode and our planet will explode, space will be the only place to escape. The greatest human intelligence, including companies like Axiom, focuses on space research and are trying to find solutions to democratise space. As the creator of Democratic Design, then Democratic Architecture, it made sense for me to take part in this space democratisation projecteven if it is a long processby creating the best environment for human beings in this infinite territory. Also, on a more abstract topic, I continue to develop my collection of perfumes. Perfume is one of the most powerful ways to reach the brain. You get maximum effect with only a few drops.
One project or object that you would like to design?
I am like Faust. I have sold my soul to a mental sickness called creativity. As my wife always says, I have thousands of ideas per minute. There are still unexplored territories but today, the only acceptable object would be something that bears a strong political representation, a new ecological reality or a new sexual identity. Nothing of that sort exists yet.
Ideas come from…
I’m completely immune to trends, of external influence. I don’t read the news, I don’t watch TV, I don’t often go to dinners or cocktails. My office in Portugal is an old ceremonial dining room, very dark, overlooking the sea. While I work, I can only see the sea. This creates an atmosphere, an atmosphere that helps the mind; it’s thought provoking, encourages dreaming and poetry. It’s my personal version of what I call fertility.
About design in South Asia
I do not speak particularly about design in South Asia because design is first of all a tool to help people to improve their lives. Design is not a matter of country but of cultural tribes and it is expressed differently depending on the tribe.