As the son of an aircraft designer, Philippe Starck (1949 –) had access to knowledge of and exposure to sleek aesthetics from an early age. He was raised on games of drawing spaces and problem-solving challenges, beneath his father’s drawing desk. The evolution of style according to the development of Starck’s profession has been an ecologically conscious one. From working for hotels and restaurants, film sets and magazine editorials, Starck has built an empire of tasteful design that speaks to everyone. His understanding of colour and textures is evident in the way Starck effortlessly blends contrasting materials and shapes to create timeless, classic works. The use of plastics and alternate materials has created a definitive identity for the Starke aesthetic, while his passion for livable spaces has moved innovation toward various affordable and eco-friendly housing solutions.
After studying at Ecole Nissim de Camondo in Paris and creating designs like inflatable houses that considered concepts of materiality, Philippe Starck was greatly successful at the Salon de l’Enfance and later employed to work with Pierre Cardin. Starke was commissioned by President François Mitterrand to redesign and redecorate the private residences at the Elysée Palace in 1983. This exposure set Starke’s career on its way and resulted on his becoming one of the most spoken about names in the design and architecture world throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Philippe Starke’s designs have been featured in numerous films and restaurants and he has featured as part of design expos across the world. Most recently, his work is part of the Salone del Moblie at the 2015 International Furniture Fair in Milan, as well as speaking at a TED Talk as the first Frenchman.
Philippe Starck, Ed Archer Chairs with dining table (circa 2000) H: 96 W: 48 D: 55 cm, glass, aliminium and leather, Driade Italy
Philippe Starke’s classic dining set, made up of the ED Archer chairs and the Driade table remains a key feature in his body of furniture design work. Developed in 1987, the chairs are timelessly stylish, with a leather seat and polished aluminum legs. Starke’s incorporation of contrasting design elements that result in a sleek look is a defining aspect of his work. The chairs are made so that seating is relaxing and supportive for sitting at a table or desk and seen as a unit, allude to a uniformed grouping of objects that have a sculptural quality.
Philippe Stark, Ero Chairs, (circa 2000) H: 80cm W: 61cm D: 64cm, aliminium and plastic, Driade Italy
The Ero Chairs by Philippe Starck are key examples of his approach to alternative materials and his appreciation of interesting shapes. The title suggests an allusion to words like ‘erode’ meaning to wear away or distill through a process of breaking down. This speaks to the simplicity of the design and the cleanness of the polycarbonate seat. The egg-like shape creates an organic feel and a pleasing contrast to the hardness of the metal base. Each chair is a versatile piece that can fit in living rooms, offices and even bedrooms. Its swivel base allows for ease of movement and the singular leg fits the chair into the aesthetics of other Nordic designers.