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The journey of Philippe Starck


Only a designer like Philippe Starck can call apartments, houses and offices his own personal museums. After all, this is where his salad bowls, chairs, lemon squeezers and bathroom products are to be found. A gifted product designer, he made an international name for himself in the 1980s. Even then he believed that modern forms do not have to be re-invented. Instead, he based his design on the re-discovery of ancient forms. For Duravit, he translated archetypal objects into ceramics and the resulting product range revolutionised the entire bathroom world. To date, he has developed three design lines for Duravit that suit every lifestyle and every budget.

Searching for the origin of things when working on the Starck 1 series at the beginning of the 1990s, the designer engaged intensively with the basic human needs, namely freshness, cleanliness and hygiene. In 1994, he unveiled the result of his work, namely the reduced, simple forms of the washbasin, toilet and bidet, which were inspired by the archaic, primitive forms of the washbowl, bucket and tub. The design of the famous Starck barrel adopts the basic form of the bucket that tapers outward towards the top and has become a modern design classic in the bathroom.

The element water was the inspiration behind Philippe Starck’s second range for Duravit. In 1998, he designed Starck 2, a range of ceramics that is a continuation, further development and also addition to its famous predecessor, Starck 1. The series is influenced less by original forms and, instead, echoes the movement of water. The fluid forms of the ceramics imitate water as it runs its course. Despite their differences, the resulting organic forms all carry Philippe Starck’s distinctive signature.

In 2002, the designer started a second revolution with his third complete bathroom range for Duravit, Starck 3. He developed a design that is both simple and innovative. The rectangular basic form of the washbasin with its narrow, all-round rim and upright rear panel is reduced to the essentials. Overall, the series presents an extraordinary range of products for public and semi-public areas, as well as for accessible bathrooms.

Since their launch, the French designer’s Starck 1 products have embarked upon a remarkable journey around the world. Starck’s design appeals to many people and, in its combination of aesthetics and practicality, represents a milestone in bathroom history. Even after 20 years, his creations still stand for sustainable product design. The barrel as synonym for ingenious design illustrates his vision as a designer.


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