Third Time's A Charm
Philippe Starck takes a low-price-point, high-concept approach to his latest collection for Duravit
Aric Chen -- Interior Design, 10/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
Marcel Duchamp may have signed a urinal and called it art in 1917, but leave it to Philippe Starck to turn bathroom fixtures into a full-blown philosophy in 2002. On a stifling, 100-degree day in Frankfurt, the designer launched his Stark 3 collection for Duravit by addressing no fewer than 900 designers, architects, journalists, and others in a tent behind the city's Städelsches Kunstinstitut. "It's not just about bathrooms and ceramic parts. It's a political and strategic action," the curly-locked Frenchman proclaimed before lamenting, in all seriousness, "I have lost trust in style."
That lost trust did not, fortunately, prevent Starck from completing Starck 3. Less stylized than Starck Editions 1 and 2, his third effort for the German luxury manufacturer is differentiated by more classic forms that are, in addition, much less expensive. The collection consists of toilets, bidets, urinals, shower trays, tubs, and, for example, sinks that sell for under $200. Designs are intended to suit both residential and contract markets, especially airports, hotels, and institutions.
"I hereby declare the design war over and won. Attractive products of good quality are being made everywhere today," the self-described "lonesome dreamer" and "farmer of the unconscious" announced to his wilting audience. However, after about an hour spent airing his other accomplishments, the designer arrived at the conclusion that great nihilists inevitably reach. "All the things that we hold true, such as the moon, the sun, and the stars, do not exist. Nothing exists," he asserted. "I am afraid, like everyone else." And like so many of history's tormented existentialists, he seems to have found solace in reconciling the self and its material surroundings—exemplified by the conjugal bath. "Today, a bathroom is an additional room for enjoyment," he explained. "In my own bathroom, I have a sofa, a fireplace, an armchair, and, most important, my wife." 1750 Breckinridge Parkway, Suite 500, Duluth, GA 30096; 888-387-2848; duravit.com. circle 345