The comedic un­der­tones of Philippe Starck’s de­signs

The hu­mor and the science be­hind Philippe Starck's new M So­cial

Red Magazine - - Editor's Note | Contents - WORDS CHRISTELLE TOLISORA

Mu­ta­tion in­volves a cer­tain al­ter­ation of ge­netic el­e­ments—at least, a science text­book will tell you as much. In the realm of de­sign, ar­chi­tect and in­te­rior de­signer Philippe Starck merges his fas­ci­na­tion for mu­ta­tion and his pen­chant for hu­mor in each of his works. Think in­flat­able houses com­bined with Starck’s ir­rev­er­ent, icon­o­clas­tic vi­sion and the re­sult looks some­thing that sprang from sur­re­al­ist move­ment.

The French de­signer be­gan his ca­reer when he de­signed an in­flat­able house as an ho­mage to Viet­namese en­gi­neer and fel­low de­signer Quasar Khanh, an en­dur­ing icon of the rene­gade spirit of the ’60s. Starck then rose to promi­nence by rein­vent­ing ev­ery­day ob­jects such as tooth­brushes, lemon squeez­ers, chairs, and even a toi­let brush—all of which are con­sid­ered bold ob­jets d’art.

Bent on em­ploy­ing de­sign to solve hu­man and en­vi­ron­men­tal needs, the renowned French de­signer also be­gan a move­ment he called “Demo­cratic De­sign.” This con­cept is best em­bod­ied in M So­cial Sin­ga­pore, a life­style ho­tel open­ing its doors this June.

An in­ter­play of metal frames, glass win­dows, mir­rors, and wood fur­nish­ing is present in what is called The Nicer Room and The Big­ger Room, mak­ing ap­par­ent Starck’s eter­nal fond­ness for con­tem­po­rary de­sign. The warm color tones, pash­mina throws, and thick car­pets em­body his idea of “snug­gish” in­te­ri­ors, and a self-check-in kiosk at the lobby, the first in Sin­ga­pore, al­lows trav­el­ers to check- in with ease. This is the purest and truest form of de­sign for Philippe Starck: it doesn’t solely re­volve around struc­ture and technique, but rather, takes into con­sid­er­a­tion the peo­ple who will soon pop­u­late the space.

Starck is as much an in­ven­tor as he is a de­signer. He be­lieves that ev­ery­thing par­tic­i­pates in per­pet­ual mu­ta­tion, transforming into some­thing even more fas­ci­nat­ing and ex­cit­ing than its cur­rent form. Starck likens de­sign to a the­ater: the space is the stage and the vis­i­tors are per­form­ers. Man can shape his own story, they say, and Starck cre­ates a realm where those mo­ments will soon take place.

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