When 2004 French star designer Philippe Starck was given the Raymond Loewy Foundation Lucky Strike Design Award for his life's work, the jury justified giving it to him as follows: "Philippe Starck is probably the most unusual, quirkiest, and exciting designer of the past twenty years and likely to be for decades to come." There is probably no area of life for which Philippe Starck has not come up with a design and he is today one of the most influential of all contemporary designers.
Born in Paris in 1949, Philippe Starck is the son of an aeronautical engineer. Between 1965 and 1967 Philippe Starck attended the École Nissim de Camondo in Paris. In the late 1960s, Philippe Starck collaborated with the designer Quasar on inflatable seating objects. In 1969 Philippe Starck became art director at Pierre Cardin and designed furniture. In the 1970s he worked as an interior decorator, designing, among other interiors, the "La Main Bleue" bar in Montreuil (1976) and "Les Bains Douches", a Paris club (1978).
In 1980 he founded Starck Products, a company for making and marketing his designs. In 1982 Philippe Starck was one of several designers commissioned to refurbish the private apartments of François Mitterand in the Elysée Palace in Paris. In 1984 Philippe Starck designed the interior of the Café Costes in Paris, for which he also designed the elegant "Costes" chair (for Driade). That commission was followed by many others for designing interiors around the world.
In 1988 Philippe Starck was commissioned to design the furnishings and appointments of the Hotel Royalton in New York, a commission followed in 1990 by another to design another boutique interior for the Paramount Hotel. In 1988 Philippe Starck designed "Ará", a horn-shaped metal table lamp which would become one of his most successful lamps. For the Royalton he also designed wall lighting in this quirky form.
In 1990-91 Starck designed his celebrated signature lemon squeezer, the long-legged "Juicy Salif" and the "Hot Bertaa" kettle for Alessi. For Driade, Kartell, Baleri, and his own firm, XO (established in 1985 with Gerard Mialet), and others, Philippe Starck designed numerous, highly popular pieces of seat furniture, such as "Dr. Sonderbar" (1983), "Von Vogelsang" (1984), "Lola Mundo" (1986), "Richard III" (1981), and "Lord Yo" (1994). The Philippe Starck "W.W. Stool" dates from 1994 and the "Prince Aha" stool from 1996. For Kartell, Philippe Starck has designed the Ghost line of chairs and armchairs of transparent polycarbonate.