Design Icon #4: the Masters chair by Philippe Starck
In 2010 Philippe Starck designed the Masters chair for Kartell, this genius project is the subject of today’s Design Icon section… are you curious to know more about this chair?
Supported on four slim legs, the Masters chair is roomy and comfortable. Its distinctiveness is of course in the backrest, characterized by solidity and void created by the meetings of curving lines of three different backs which descend to merge within the scope of the session.
Behind the Design
The Masters chair is a keen tribute to three symbol chairs, reread and reinterpreted by the creative genius of Philippe Starck. The “Series 7” by Arne Jacobsen, the “Tulip Armchair” by Eero Saarinen and the “Eiffel Chair”by Charles Eames intertwine the unmistakable silhouettes into a sinuous hybrid, to create a fusion of original and eye-catching style.
A tribute to the past which does not pass, in fact, evolves, as Philippe Starck says about the Masters: “We were not born today. We had some great predecessors. The Masters chair brings to mind the lines of three great masters and three great masterpieces. With them all together, they create a new product, a new project, a reflection of our new society.”
Light, practical and stackable, Masters can be used inside and outside as well thanks to the incredible durability of the modified polypropylene. For a more valuable effect it is also proposed in surprising metallic finishes, but the black and white chairs remain my favorites.
Kartell also proposes the stool version. The legs are getting longer, the seat becomes smaller, but the unmistakable graphic symbol of the structure, given by the intertwining of three sessions iconic silhouette, remains the same. Available in a range of vibrant colors, ideal for both the home and contract, Masters Stool live perfectly even outdoors.
White and black Masters for a nordic style or colorful Marsters for a playfull look, it is up to you!
Now it’s time to talk about Philippe Starck, designer of this design icon…
Philippe Starck (born January 18, 1949, Paris) is a French designer known for his wide range of designs, including everything from interior design to household objects to boats to watches. He has also worked as an architect.
Always interested in design as a total concept, in the 1970s he made a reputation for himself by creating interiors for clients such as the Paris nightclubs La Main Bleue (1976) and Les Bains-Douches (1978).
Starck first gained international attention when he was commissioned to refurbish the private apartments in the Élysée Palace (1983–84) in Paris for French President François Mitterrand. He went on to design restaurant and hotels interiors throughout the world. Over the course of these varied commissions, he did not develop one distinct aesthetic or a preference for certain materials. Rather, he addressed the needs of an individual client, whether it was the somewhat conservative character of state apartments or the more modern tone needed for a trendy nightclub. Some constants did develop in Starck’s work, however, such as a preference for fluid, organic forms and the inclusion of subtle, playful details.
Parallel to his career as an interior designer, Starck developed an international reputation on the basis of his wide range of industrial designs. Often displaying the same organic, fluid lines of his interiors, the varied products he designed on commission included boats for Bénéteau, mineral-water bottles for Glacier, kitchen appliances—notably the Juicy Salif juicer—for Alessi, toothbrushes for Fluocaril, luggage for Samsonite, “Urban Fittings” for Decaux, furniture for Vitra and Kartell, televisions for Thomson Multimedia, watches for Fossil, eyeglasses for Alain Mikli, and the Optical Mouse for Microsoft.
Starck’s populist vision for design was best achieved in such products, which were often sold at affordable price points and through mass-market venues. Rejecting design simply for the sake of beauty or as a symbol of wealth, Starck hoped that his work would improve people’s lives by adding an element of humour and surprise to everyday acts such as brushing one’s teeth or cooking. The designer himself was often featured in ads for his products, since his flamboyant, lighthearted personality embodied the message of his work.
Philippe Starck also worked as an architect, with many commissions in Japan. Although not as well known as his interiors and product design, his buildings also displayed the fluid lines and playful details for which his industrial designs were known. His best-known works are the Asahi Beer Hall (1990) in Tokyo, an austere, blocklike granite building topped with a bulbous orange shape resembling a flame, and the Unhex Nani-Nani office building (1989), also in Tokyo, which has been described as a biomorphic shed. In 1997 he received the Excellence in Design Award from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
The Masters is a piece of creativity of today, inspired by the past, that will be tomorrow’s history… I’ll just love this project! And you, do you like the Masters chair?