Philippe Starck: “Milan will always be the creative center of design”

“It’s a love story between Baccarat, me and humanity, because the crystal story is that of humanity”, declares absolutely Philippe Starck with reference to the lavish “transparent” Talleyrand collection, which marks two decades of collaboration with the French crystal brand.

The series includes vases, cups, lamps and divinely vain accessories such as the caviar bowl and bell, along with its first line of jewelry fell into a series of colored rings. The name is inspired by Napoleon’s talented head of diplomacy, reminiscent of the Enlightenment, a century of new values ​​and the pursuit of happiness.

In fifty years, Starck has drawn practically everything, easily gone from luxury to pop and had fun throwing ourselves out by mixing the alphabet. It is impossible not to remember famous objects such as the transparent Louis Ghost chairs for Kartell and the Space Age citrus press for Alessi, a playful counterpart to institutional works such as the interior of the Elysée, designed in 1983 on behalf of i.a. the then President Mitterrand. has dedicated design stars to the general public.

Over time, objects and works have fueled the myth of the French designer, who at the age of 73 becomes almost mysterious. His concept of humanity becomes philosophically universal when it touches on the themes that animate the debate about design and relate to the reduction of production and the conscious use of materials. .

What does this collection represent for Baccarat?

The crystal was created from sand, solidified by fire in the desert to become a raw material. Baccarat has refined the process, making it a true savoir-faire; a miracle of reflection, diffraction, aberration.

For twenty years I have been working on the set of forces that is the Harcourt collection (the Elder in the Baccarat Archive, revisited with humor by Starck, ed); this Talleyrand collection is a new fantasy that combines heritage and modernity, elegance and ergonomics, strength and poetry.

What audience do you think these pieces are aimed at?

For anyone who loves magic, the miracle and is sensitive to the timeless elegance of Baccarat and its luminous objects.

What was your impression of the last Milan Design Week?

Milan has been, and always will be, the creative center. As at all fairs since the beginning of time, people meet, speak, share their views, are passionate about design. It is not the products that are necessarily interesting, but the fusion of whole people, the exchange of humanity, is like a great church.

What kind of show was it, the first since the pandemic?

Since I always live in seclusion like a monk in the middle of the woods, nothing has changed for me with the pandemic – of course I’m sorry for the many people who have died and suffered. Everything was slower and it gave me more time to prepare and think about my plans. As for the feeling, I feel that we understand that we are all dependent on each other and the suffering of the other is also ours.

What’s really new, have you seen anything surprising?

I have always, and very first and foremost, briefed my work on ecology, sustainability, about dematerialisation and invisibility. Today, I notice that more and more designers are taking into account the ecological emergency, which is a crucial issue.

Can we realize the dream of a completely ecological design?

The first question that should arise when designing a new product is “Do we really need it?”. Most of the time, the answer will be no. If not, we must simplify, produce with as few materials and functions as possible. The important parameters are for me longevity, transfer and inheritanceso we need to use environmentally friendly and sustainable materials that people can buy by focusing on their lives and assessing the future for ten generations.

What is it doing concretely in this sense?

With Kartell, for example, I was the first in over twenty years to work with bioplastics; with Andreu World I made chairs with only 1 millimeter of plywood: Mariya was created with few elements, without screws or bolts, so we do not have to cut in the woods. This is the philosophy of the minimum, of the square root of things.

Don’t you think we should start rethinking materials in a radically different way?

I’ve always been looking for solutions to everything I work on, but that does not mean I have found them. But we are always looking for smart materials and we must all keep doing it.

How many projects did you present at Milan Design Week 2022?

In addition to the Talleyrand and Eclat de Talleyrand collections, the Soleil and Tulum bathroom lines with Duravit evoking the air of a day at the beach, a work on eternity with Dior in the reinterpretation of an icon with the Miss Dior chair. Then the Anders collection with Glas Italia, which is about the magic of transparency; a table with Magis; The haughty elegance of the HH chair and the humble elegance of the pope, the future of materials of biological origin with Kartell. But all this has already happened to me, I am already daydreaming about the next projects.


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