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UNSCRIPTED with Philippe Starck: Work, Sleep. Love. Repeat

On UNSCRIPTED this week, visionary French designer Philippe Starck gives STIR a closer peek into his life - one in which his desk, slumber and love are best friends.

by Zohra KhanPublished on : Jun 25, 2021

“Everything is strange in creation.”
- Philippe Starck

To design something is an act of love for French designer Philippe Starck, and it is pure, unadulterated spirit which is the fundamental pillar of his creativity. While the world is familiar with the limitless nature of his design practice, on UNSCRIPTED this week, we discover unknown facts about the man himself, his habits and quirks, the pleasures and pains of his life, and what keeps him inspired.

  • Legendary French designer Philippe Starck doesn't believe in the notion of peace and happiness | Starck Network | Paris | STIRworld
    Legendary French designer Philippe Starck doesn't believe in the notion of peace and happiness Image: © STARCK NETWORK
  •  Starck with wife Jasmine Abdellatif Starck | Starck Network | Paris | STIRworld
    Starck with wife Jasmine Abdellatif Starck Image: © Sam Tinson, Courtesy of STARCK NETWORK

Speaking from the top of a mountain in Portugal, where he is currently residing with his wife Jasmine, Starck spills secrets about his ‘elsewhere’ state of life where peace, happiness, and trends have no meaning.

I don’t have a software for suffering. – Philippe Starck
  • A portrait of Starck from his childhood | Starck Network | Paris | STIRworld
    A portrait of Starck from his childhood Image: © STARCK NETWORK
  • A photo of Starck from early days of his career | Starck Network | Paris | STIRworld
    A photo of Starck from early days of his career Image: © STARCK NETWORK

Born to an aircraft designer father in Paris, Starck sums up his childhood days as ‘a permanent escape’ in this seven-minute video interview. The most special gift his parents gave him, he shares, was the understanding of creativity and panache. “Panache is so French that it is perhaps untranslatable, and that is its beauty,” he says.

While growing up, though he loved to draw and sketch – finding it an effortlessly liberating exercise – it was however a liking for writing that he wanted to pursue. But as fate would have it, young Starck chose design as a career and following in his father’s footsteps, embraced creativity and inventiveness as his duty.

For Starck, his home is his desk | Starck Network | Paris | STIRworld
For Starck, his desk is his home Image: © STARCK NETWORK

In love and work, he says, is where he finds meaning in his life – though life itself for him stands as being useless and a journey without happiness. ‘If madness for Philippe Starck is creativity,’ we ask, ‘what is peace for him?’ "There is no peace…If one day I am empty, I shall be dead," answers the 72-year-old.

As someone who likes to call himself a creator, Starck shares that ‘trend’ is one word that he finds the most unnecessary in the deluge of other 95 per cent empty words spoken in the design industry today.

  • A.I. Chair, Kartell. 2017 | Starck Network | Paris | STIRworld
    A.I. Chair, Kartell. 2017 Image: © STARCK NETWORK
  • Axiom Space Station’s Habitation Module, Axiom Space. 2018 | Starck Network | Paris | STIRworld
    Axiom Space Station’s Habitation Module, Axiom Space. 2018 Image: © STARCK NETWORK
  • Motor Yacht A. 2004 | Starck Network | Paris | STIRworld
    Motor Yacht A. 2004 Image: © Guillaume Plisson, Courtesy of STARCK NETWORK
  • Prefabricated Accessible Technological Homes, Starck with RIKO. 2014| Starck Network | Paris | STIRworld
    Prefabricated Accessible Technological Homes, Starck with RIKO. 2014 Image: © STARCK NETWORK

As the founder of Paris-based studio, STARCK NETWORK, whose last projects include a chair designed using AI and interiors of a commercial space station, Starck is one of most influential designers to have walked the planet. An adherent of the idea that design is about making something that deserves to exist, he leads the way by bringing spaces and products that are affordable and democratic. His multi-faceted practice encompasses conception of almost anything one could think of - from toothbrush, lemon squeezer, perfumes, eyewear, smartphones and furniture, to mega yachts, homes, hotels, prefab housing and space modules. Having created more than 10,000 projects, his works are owned by some of the most established international design brands such as Flos, Cassina, Baccarat , Kartell, Alessi, and Magis, and countless popular American and British galleries including MOMA, Vitra Design Museum and the Brooklyn Museum have showcased his collections.

On UNSCRIPTED, Starck shares that his guilty pleasure is cycling alone | Starck Network | Paris | STIRworld
On UNSCRIPTED, Starck shares that his guilty pleasure is cycling alone Image: © STARCK NETWORK

Beyond fascinating details about his practice, Starck unravels nuances of his personal life in the episode which includes him expressing his boundless love for his wife, a sacred daily ritual, a popular misconception people have about him, and a provocative learning from a mistake that he is grateful for.

P.S. A mesmerising video of him whistling exclusively for STIR readers is part of the complete episode. Hit the cover video to watch.

Curated by Pramiti Madhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with leading design professionals who give a peek into their undiscovered lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series releases a new episode every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.  

All photographs © STARCK NETWORK. Images may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced, or used in part or whole without obtaining permission. The photographs in this video are not licensed for personal, commercial, or public use, or use in the public domain in any form.

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