Where does Philippe Starck live? Mostly, as he himself declared, in hotels. Travelling the world to oversee his new projects and sourcing inspiration for his upcoming ones. Currently, like most of the design industry people , he is in Milan. The Venetian Ajamo brothers - known for their creative take on restaurants - have just opened a new casual gourmet pizza place which is bound to become a hotspot in Milan. The restaurant is called Amor and serves the authentic “Venitian Pizza” , which instead of being oven-cooked is steamed. Starck collaborated both in the design and in creating the concept.
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In this special occasion, at LUXOS we are happy to share an insight of Starck’s reality.
Starck has never done the ordinary and his design ambition is to be a spark for debate and conversation. He always confronts convention: he chose the names of his children Ara, Oa, Lago, and K by randomly using a computer programme. Starck is talking to me from his Paris headquarters, though he is rarely in the City of Light, spending at least half the year on the road. “Home can be anywhere, can be anything if you are with the person or the people you love,” he says. “I personally live on planes but I am lucky that my wife Jasmine and I always travel together, so I feel home everywhere and all the time.”
The 70-year-old likes to keep things simple when he creates. Starck never uses email and chooses to draw his designs using the same exact notepad and Pentel Pen for the last 40 years. “I never change my pen, my paper, my friends, my wife, or my bicycle,” he says. “I always carry my mini iPad for the music, my paper pad and my pencil, just the few things I need to work anywhere in the world and that is all I need.”
Starck has had a busy 2018. He designed a luxurious orbiting habitat to accommodate customers of Houston- based commercial space light company Axiom Space, which plans to launch space tourists into the Earth’s lower orbit beginning with trips to the International Space Station in 2020. “My vision is to create a comfortable egg – friendly, where walls are so soft and in harmony with the values of movements of the human body in zero gravity.”
His prolific output in hotel design sees no sign of waning. His new hotel projects such as Paris’s Brach Hotel and 9 Hotel Confidentiel and Maison Heler Metz in Lorraine are already picking up plaudits: “Three sophisticated jewels,” as he describes them. Located in Paris’ chic 16th arrondissement, the Brach Hotel was entirely overhauled to 5-star standards by the Evok Group, owner of the Nolinski Hotel, also in Paris. “Brach refects the time when the Dadaists, Surrealists, and architects like Le Corbusier discovered the culture of Africa,” he says. “It’s Bauhaus modernism with African wonder.”
Opening in 2020, the surreal Maison Heler Metz, Starck brings 18th-century Alsace to Lorraine. On the roof of the contemporary tower hotel is a full replica of a traditional Alsatian home, complete with its own porch and garden. “The idea popped up in a ash,” says Starck. The 119-room hotel is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. “As if by some unknown force, a striped-glass tower pushed its way out from the foundation, a typical bourgeois regional-style home perched high above left intact, like on a lm set.”
We are barely into 2019 and the eclectic designer has already debuted a collection of furniture for Cassina, upholstered in a vegan fabric called Apple Ten Lork. A total of 16 pieces designed by Starck for Cassina includes the Volage EX-S sofa, redesigned with a thinner arm rest, the Privé collection and the Caprice and Passion chairs. The cutting-edge material is a number of apple skin materials manufactured by Italian company Frumat.
Starck’s work will feature at the Salone del Mobile 2019. “We see our partner friends whom we love and respect,” he reveals. “We talk to journalists, whom we also love, and then we run away. In between, we hide out at the Bulgari Hotel, a very high-quality achievement by my friend Antonio Citterio, whom I would even entrust my apartment!”
Starck’s design philosophy is very much organic and human. It is one that seeks to creative warmth, positivity and good karma for the end user. “I am nothing without my creativity, my creativity is everything, my creativity is me,” the designer tells me. “I am a personality who is of little interest in normal life, but it is true that sometimes the results of my creativity are interesting. I have no desires, no needs, no possibility of escaping my creative action, my career.”
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