When Philippe Starck and Duravit carried out their first joint project in 1994, it was love at first sight, but neither realised how successful this cooperation would be. The breakthrough came with the famous "Starck barrel", which to this day is one of Duravit’s best sellers. "I always said that the bathroom has to become a wet living room. But no one understood me. Apart from Duravit. That's why I love Duravit!"
Philippe-Patrick Starck was born in Paris on the 18th January 1949, the son of aircraft designer André Starck and his wife Jacqueline. Starck spent his childhood under his father’s drawing board, where he would spend hours sawing, cutting, glueing and sanding. From his father, Philippe inherited his inventive nature, and from his mother his poetic view of the world and his elegant life style. It was she who advised him to study design at the École Nissim de Camondo in Paris. Starck took his first steps as a designer using inflatable objects before he became known for the furnishing of the private quarters in the Élysée Palace of French President François Mitterand. Shortly afterwards, his interior design of the Café Costes in Paris made him an international star. Today he creates "intelligent" objects with a commitment to humanity: Television (Thomson), luggage (Samsonite), kettles, knives, vases, watches, scooters, motorbikes (Aprilia), prams (Maclaren), computer mice (Microsoft), even ships and houses - all in all objects for all aspects of life.
Red Dot Award – Starck 1
Design Plus – Starck 1
Good Design Award – Starck 1
Design Preis (Schweiz) – Starck 1
Industrie Forum Design – Starck 1
Batimat – Starck 1
Red Dot Award - Starck 1
iF Product Design – Starck 1
Good Design Award – Starck 1
Red Dot Award – Starck 1
Red Dot Award – Starck 2
Design Plus – Starck 1
Red Dot Award – Starck
Red Dot Award – Starck 3
Design Plus – Starck 3
Dood Design – Starck 3
Red Dot Award – Starck X
Focus Open – Starck X
Good Design Award – Starck K
iF Product Design – SensoWash Starck 3
Interior Innovation Award – Starck K
Red Dot Award – St. Trop
iF Product Design – St. Trop
Iconic Award – SensoWash i
German Design Award – Starck K
iF Product Design – Starck Wanne
Red Dot Award – SensoWashi
iF Product Design – SensoWash i
German Design Award – SensoWash i
Iconic Award – ME by Starck
Red Dot Award – Cape Cod
Iconic Award (Winner)– Cape Cod
Red Dot Award – ME by Starck
iF Product Design – ME by Starck
Home Style Award – SensoWash i
iF Product Design – Cape Cod
German Design Award – Cape Cod
Interview with Philippe Starck
How did you develop your first ideas for Duravit designs?
In my work for Duravit I have used predominantly iconic shapes. Many people said they were archaic, but they are not. Archaic means to be bonded to the past, while icons, on the other hand, are timeless. I step into the background and attempt to place all the symbols in a wider context. All the symbols bear the stamp of time and history and so gain a meaning which can be understood in different cultures across the world. On the one hand, we want the highest quality, reasonable prices and mass production, while on the other we want unique items for ourselves. That is human nature. So it is all the more important that the sustainability of top-quality products should never be in doubt. Sustainability is fundamental. Because you’re not going to exchange your washbasin every three months, it’s part of the house and can last for generations.
What role does the bathroom play for you in your own house?
The bathroom for me is an extended living room. On the one hand it refreshes and revitalises, on the other it is a peaceful place to relax. We like to spend time here. For example, a bathtub has three functions in my eyes: Visually it is a sculpture which acts as an eye-catcher, intuitively it is a sofa on which we can sit down, and functionally it is a tub in which you wash yourself.
How much design does a bathroom series require these days?
Design is going through an important phase. Today it is integrated into society – almost something normal. Apart from the design, it is simply a matter of the honesty and utility of a product. The first thing is to seek out absolutely honest partners and dependable industrial concerns such as Duravit. Then you design a product which is really useful. Design will never save lives, but it can make life easier. We create design objects for a genuine utility.
What advantages do your design objects have?
I asked myself: What do we really need? As anything which we do not really need is pointless. And everything which is pointless is a danger to our society, and sooner or later it will be outdated. In the ME by Starck range, for example, it is mainly a question of our real needs, of you and me. Without a defined style, without any influence from trends, with no promotional effect. It is simply a matter of what we really need. With the product development team at Duravit, we kept the focus on real ergonomics, real movements. The point is how the water can best flow, how one soils as little as possible, and how one can most easily clean.
Why do you work with such a company like Duravit?
My credo is, "If you are fortunate enough to have a good idea, then you have the duty to share it". It’s easy to design a beautiful object, but if nobody buys it, it’s of no interest. That’s why it’s worthwhile working with a partner like Duravit. We’ve already been doing so for almost 30 years; indeed, you could say we are joint authors of a unique story.
The spirit of...
It's not a coincidence that Philippe Starck’s bathroom range is named after a peninsula on the east coast of America. "Everyone dreams of a hut on a sand dune at the beach, everyone has their own Cape Cod.“
The bathroom range captures the incomparable spirit of New England, and makes every bathroom into one’s own little Cape Cod.
A Mecca for intellectuals and the wealthy.
The peninsula in south Massachusetts has an area of 1033 km²; it was first settled by the Mayflower Pilgrims in 1620. Since then, Cape Cod has more and more become a Mecca for intellectuals and the wealthy, and even today is a preferred destination for the rich and famous of Boston and New York. The region is thought of as untouched and at the same time of great architectural interest, as the regional lobster shacks are mixed in with modern architecture.
John F. Kennedy’s real home
Among the most famous residents of Cape Cod was John F. Kennedy, who only here felt truly at home. In Hyannis, there is now an imposing Kennedy Memorial, and his house from those days - only a few minutes' drive away - has become a type of museum. In the first place, the little house concentrates on his private life, especially before he became president.
But architects such as Serge Chermayeff, Eero Saarinen and Marcel Breuer put up buildings here too; their colleague Walter Gropius was a regular visitor - he taught at Harvard, some two and a half hours away by car. Here the architect (centre of the picture, with hat) is cavorting around on the beach of Planting Island on the southern tip of Cape Cod. The lady at his feet is Mary Coss, who became curator of architecture at the Museum of Modern Art.
Even today, "Cape Cod" lives off the carefree spirit of New England. Especially right up in Provincetown you find an easy-going, relaxed atmosphere.
For most coastal towns on Cape Cod, fishing was for many years the main source of income, and even today the lobster is here what the oyster is to Sylt. Anyone who has not eaten in a lobster shack has not really experienced Cape Cod: even McDonalds does „lobster rolls“.
A good time to visit is late Spring or September. However, temperatures are such that swimming may not be advisable. But in July and August the region is swamped with tourists and the prices are excessive.
A piece of organic architecture for everyone is Philippe Starck’s bathroom range Cape Cod, which sees the bathroom as a place of revitalisation for the eye, body and soul – just like the magical place after which the range is named.