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Starck cooks up some new ideas with kitchen designs

PASSION, intelligence, imagination, fantasy and appreciation for life are all echoed in design guru Philippe Starck's creations, from spectacular interior designs to mass produced consumer goods. For more than three decades, this multifarious creator, designer and architect has been a part of our daily lives by creating unconventional objects. From the everyday products, furniture to mail-order homes, motorbikes, mega-yachts, even artistic direction for space-travel projects, there are few areas of design he hasn't explored and he never stops pushing the limits and criteria of contemporary design.

The Frenchman was recently in town for the launch of his new kitchen designs in which Starck has channeled today's lifestyle into innovative kitchens that offer solutions for all kinds of people and spaces.

Shanghai Daily had the chance to talk with Starck to discuss his new line of kitchen designs, his concept and philosophy, and the future of design.

Have you ever thought about applying your design ideas to typical Chinese daily life objects? How about a wok, steam baskets, chopsticks or soup spoons?

I designed chopsticks 30 years ago. There are lots of very good Chinese products, for example the wok. In France, my wife and myself, we use only chopsticks as it is more convenient than a knife and fork. But we don't need to think what is typically Chinese or French or Italian, we have just to think what is good for us and we are not different.

Are you willing to work with Chinese designers?

I cooperate with nobody. All my life I have worked alone, and I'm very happy doing it this way. It's the guarantee to bring some fresh new angle of view. I keep my way of dreaming, my way of working.

Would you say that design is universal or is it affected by cultures?

The subject of the product by itself is not important; the only important aspect is the final goal and purpose of that object.

How people in different geographical areas will use the same object, refine its design for their particular need is important, or how to make it more intelligent, more inspiring, more in love, more sparkling or bring in some new ideas and energy.

The product's minimum purpose is to help people have better lives. We are universal we are one animal species. We have the same need.

Back in the 1980s you designed the then French President Francois Mitterand's private apartment. Would you consider doing the same for prominent Chinese leaders if they asked?

That depends on them. I need to understand them, need to agree with them, politically I need to understand them so deeply because it is very personal to make a home for somebody.

That's why I always refuse to make decorations for home. If I have some affinity, intellectual connections with this person, like I had with Mitterand, yes, otherwise no.

Home is very personal. It is a little silly to hire an interior designer because you ask somebody to create for you a perfect life and that's not your life, not your brain, but the designer's. You know as a designer I shall never let anybody live in my brain, that's why I'm extremely selective about creating a home for someone.

What does your home mean to you?

My home is my life with the person I love. Home is everywhere when you are with the person you love and your friends.

Describe your design style.

My style is freedom, the freedom to make forever: what I want, how I want, when I want with who I want. I also make what I can with who I can when I can. It's absolute freedom. We don't need money, we don't need glory, we don't need any recognition; there is nobody more free than us. And we want to share this freedom with everybody.

Who inspired you out of the design circle?

Scientists. I love only scientists. I love people of astrophysics, the people working on the origins of the big bang; I love biologists and mathematicians. I love all these people. Why? Because they are real creators, they create the world every minute. It's not trendy, it's not fashionable, it's not a joke, it's not humor; they simply truly create around us, for us, for our future. It's the only thing which interests me.

What will be the next big design trend?

The next big design trend will be freedom. Freedom to be, to be different, to show our differences, to be proud of our good taste or our bad taste, of our no taste, to build our own idea, our own home, our own life.

"Trends" is an obsolete idea, it's an old idea. The only feature is freedom, recognizing that we are all different. That's the beauty of life.


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