philippe starck rejects design art philippe starck rejects design art
jul 09, 2009

philippe starck rejects design art




french designer and architect philippe starck has thrown a few punches towards his colleagues and design in general. during his recent lecture in the main hall of the university in florence, italy, starck told students to develop objects ‘with a spirit of service towards the people’, as this would help creating a more ‘easy and comfortable daily life’.

philippe starck image © designboom



starck, in fact, rejects design activity that ‘wants to become art, but in fact is producing items‘ – unnecessary and costly things. he explained that ‘in the design of an object, we must always focus on the way in which its use can meet the daily needs’. starck continued his attack and claim that ‘he had never understood all those designers who are trying to become an artist, creating products that end up being useless, expensive and therefore are a danger to society.’ ‘I prefer to design mass-produced chairs at a cost of 1 euro, that sell in 100,000 items, rather than a single one that is quoted 100.000 euro.

  • I agree with the man for the larger part
    …although…sometimes an idea is not suited for mass production yet…but is to nice not to be making just a few of those and selling them for a bit more should not be a crime..One could consider selling it as stocks or shares for/in an idea that one day might be that way selling not ready for massproduction ideas (as a limited edition) might later contribute to mass production.and if the early limited edition of that idea is worth a bit more money for a certain audience..hey..they helped the designer to survive in th first place so why not have them cash in on it
    if designers would only think of ideas that are possible to make now…how will we move on. just taking a few steps further is very useful sometimes.
    The thing that does disgust me, is making furniture that in no way contributes to industrial design or its history but is just made limited so it can cost more and appeals to a certain group of people that buy products for status.
    in 10 years we’ll see what limited editions were healthy and the ones that were not.
    products have always been bought for status..(not just for using) if everybody buys the same thing,..there will always be people that want to buy something different, better or simply more exspensive…good stuff for everybody is a very socialistic idea…almost communist…and we all know what happened to communism…;-)

    B says:
  • ‘I prefer to design mass-produced chairs at a cost of 1 euro,
    that sell in 100,000 items, rather than a single one that is quoted 100.000 euro.’

    What like 170 euro chairs in six colourways?

    I like Philippe Starck’s designs but he’s fast becoming the typcical design hypocrite in that he ignores his continuing contribution to landfill. This disingenous hand-wringing over beauty, and self-hatred over one’s purpose in life – its like design anorexia.

    I think he has surrendered to the anal philosophy of function fixated designers who design products that conform to the limits of their imagination and then try to disguise it as understatement. This influence has caused Starck to have regrets and now he wants to imbue the design industry with a seriousness it does not deserve.

    I notice he, nor Jasper Morrison, nor Ron Arad etc, do not occupy themselves designing prosthetic limbs or ambulances.

    No, Philippe Starck and his peers create transparent chairs, Savorski chandeliers, groovy watches, must-have lemon squeezer’s, motorbikes, £120 limited edition replica wine crates as storage, and collaborate with the daughters of Rock Stars to design expensive hotels for millionaires.

    But thats what they do best!

    Function and aesthetics should be siamese twins if you’re producing furniture and homewares. Unless its a strictly functional item, then to contrive beauty is not the worst thing that can result in a product. Human beings are nourished by a degree of beauty. A useless product is still useless whether it is beautiful or formless.

    However designers dress it, they are responsible for creating commodities in a competitive market, and they all design more goods than are actually required. No matter how ethical the manufacturing process, the goods are still an inducement to acquire. And an important factor of that inducement will aesthetic as well as functional.

    Its part of the human condition to crave visual stimulation.
    I grew up in a new town built on strict quasi-Bauhaus principles… and it was spiritually neutering.

    douglas montgomery says:
  • Ha ha ha, nice joke.

    Leo says:
  • How can he say something like that? After the alessi’s plastic dwarf, after his lemon squeezer and the majority of his designs?
    Is like the design competitions: every company wants new ideas and susteinable design, but for the rest of their production, they refer only to marketing specialists to fulfill market expectations…
    I call it cunning incoherence…

    Matteo Marchetti says:
  • Simply an hypocrate.

    Alexandre Lemos says:
  • i like his work but it seems mr stark is forgetting some of his own designs are quite expensive!

    ghassan says:
  • What you should take away from this is the master at work being controversial keeping ahead of the curve. Of course you’ll be bemused or agitated isn’t that the purpose. He knows exactly what he is doing, causing a media sensation perhaps for his own amusement and definitely for attention. Bravo!

    studio james long says:
  • Wow, i could not agree more with Douglas Montgomery and Studio James Long.
    Both are very eloquently right.
    It seems Mr Starck is forgetting a lot of quite fundamental things in this lecture. And there seems to be a lot of self-denial going on.

    Sara says:
  • Starck has a product tha cost 1 euro?????

    Javier-Colombia says:
  • cost to produce 1 euro!

    cost for you to buy ……… not sure of the price of a ghost chair off hand… but a lot more than one euro

    chris rothery says:
  • Well, it seems Mr Starck is at it again. After having had dinner with this man, I can tell you how absolutely full of s**t he is. His philosophy behind his design changes the more coke he snorts. This coming from a man who locks himself in his design studio for 3 days while doing obscene amounts of drugs, and finally emerging with sketches that are practically undecipherable and reprimanding his designers for not “getting it.” Well, the man is the biggest sell out of all. VERY good at his art, but completely obnoxious and a total hypocrite. People are getting really tired of his antics in this industry, and I think he should just stay in his Colombian Lock-Down instead of telling everyone else what to do with design and commerce in university lectures. I don’t see him giving anything away for 1 euro, more like 1 kilo.

    DVN - Los Angeles says:
  • absurd Mr. Starck… look in the mirror. I just tossed away one of your watches because it is a useless piece of expensive mass produced crap. Now if you are changing your tune?…only time will tell… unlike your watch.

    Douglas Homer says:
  • i agree … we are designers , not ARTISTS !

    daniel gonzalez - czech republic says:
  • i kind of agree with stark…. one has to choose… the main purpose of furniture is to satisfy the people’s needs. if the design “eats” all functionality it can not be called design anymore, it’s just a piece of art

    Amy says:
  • Again to add with the haters: And to just be mesmerized by all the people above who ‘like’ phillipe. He just reitterated what every famous break through designer has said before him. Wants to make only functional work, wants to make work that costs only a dollar…blah blah blah. The biggest difference, he is so far from making anything remotely functional, and is one of the designers who started the whole design art trend. Every piece of his is more art then it is design, and he should be proud, but he only proves how ignorant i feel him to be. mush on phillipe to your doom as the designer of worst failed decade of all time, the 90’s. Debt and ugly shiz.

    good says:
  • Oh no… Why did he say that? I like his work but…
    Everyone would love to make 1€ products. Thank you for saying that.
    But what? Should I manufacture my stuff in China by 8 year old children and giving him a lollipop instead of giving work to my craftman neighbour in France who takes 50€/h? Is it that the “spirit of service towards the people”?
    Who pretends that making an expensive piece of furniture is like considering that piece of art? Is it also possible to say that it is because we don’t have the choice? That manufacturing is also expensive?
    It’s like those ones who say “stop making 3D models and go making real prototypes”! Alright then. Give me the money, I’ll do! Designers are not all born already rich.
    I’m beginning to get sick with those guys that do not think for the other ones because it was a sort of “easy” for them.

    John says:
  • Philippe is Starckly a twat

    architect says:
  • c’mon mr. starck….. now you’re being stupid!
    look at all your work? your gym office pieces… yeah, very usefull.
    and the 1 euro stuff? more like €200 for your items.

    You like to be a design icon… and it’s not by making a Bic pen that you’ll keep your status, more like chairs for kartell (very €1, right!!)

    anabela dias says:
  • Mr Starck you are very Stark

    1 a: rigid in or as if in death b: rigidly conforming (as to a pattern or doctrine) : absolute
    Merriam Webster’s Dictionary

    He can let the lectures until a bit later when he actually grows up a bit. He is just a successful design-businessman, nothing more. Certainly not the Pope of Design. Unfortunately for him everyone is allowed to do anything they like, and if he does not like it he can join the Design Nazism regime. He ticks all the boxes

    Cia cia

    Not so Stark says:
  • Ohhhhh

    Mr Starck now you gave yourself away. Your ghost chairs cost actually 1Euro?!?

    You pay a lot for crap…. now don’t you! They should cost a penny your flimsy little creations. The markup is in the order of hundred/s then. Well done for ripping off your customers. No wonder you are so cocky

    Get a Life says:
  • this is the first time Philippe sounds like he knows what hes talking about… clearly however, he must have just talked to Karim Rashid bc that man has been preaching those same ideals for as long as I can remember.

    tarynpaper says:
  • this guy is going towards “pathetic needles person”

    . says:
  • Phillipe stark is a hypocrite and a hype-surfer….The bono of designers.
    He has created lots of useless expensive objects.

    His definition of design is way off. Design is not about making expensive objects its about honing and optimizing the relationship between man and his ‘machine’.

    Its people like Stark that give my profession a bad name.

    Thomas Valcke says:
  • I would just like to remind you that it was the artists of the renaissance who created all the fields of art, design, engineering, plumbing, machinery, philosophy, and much more. So why not be a artist as it is the most profound calling not design. the modern state of design compared to the years of renaissance and Boticelli is crap ugly. And the world is jsut getting uglier and uglier thanks to our designers. And Starck got his sucess from his artist designer predecessors of Memphis who were arists and paved the way for his usurpation of design work from others. Also it was the renaissance children who were fundamental in creation the renaissance and our enlightement. So it is jsut the opposite to what Mr. Starck claims. He seems to have shown that he is getting old and obsolete that is all.

    paul says:
  • 1 euro??? from here I defy Starck to design a chair that cost 1 euro!!! Can you hear me Starck? of course he can´t, he is in the top of designer´s mountain. Really far from real people….

    zuco says:
  • An industrial designer can be an artist… but it will never be the same…

    I agree… Industrial Design is NOT art…

    Omar Aguirre says:
  • I believe the only art here is marketing….

    1:10 says:

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