It seems Philippe Starck has made enough toothbrushes, toasters, watches, mopeds, chairs, trendy hotels, mediocre sushi restaurants and piles of money. So what is this shamelessly self promoting product designer doing now to get attention? Biting the hand that feeds him of course. In a recent interview with Germany’s Die Zeit Magazine, Mr. Starck proclaims the “death of design.” No longer satisfied with his life’s work and feeling that everything he ever designed was ” unnecessary”, the close to retiring designer wants to rain on everyone else’s design parade and create nothing but controversy. While I do agree with him that all he “created is absolutely useless”, I do have to argue his point that “design is dead.” There are countless designers (amateur and professional) delivering and working on products that enhance life, bring joy and make this world a little easier to deal with for people in all walks of life. Yes, there are many more designers working on mostly frivolous items we feature daily on Yanko Design, but those designs seem to just inspire us and push design further and into the mainstream consciousness of the world. Good design is always better than bad design, no matter the usefulness of any object. In his defense, if I spent an entire lifetime making objects of frivolity, I might be inclined to be introspective as well. Donate your money to worthy charities, help the helpless or lecture on the importance of environmentally sustainable, life enhancing objects, just don’t claim design to be dead and expect to exonerate yourself from the life you designed for yourself. Design is no where near dead, it just may be dead in Mr. Starck.
UPDATE: Some of the quotes used in the German Weekly.
“I was a producer of materiality and I am ashamed of this fact,”
“Everything I designed was unnecessary.”
“I will definitely give up in two years’ time. I want to do something else, but I don’t know what yet. I want to find a new way of expressing myself …design is a dreadful form of expression.”
“In future there will be no more designers. The designers of the future will be the personal coach, the gym trainer, the diet consultant,”
Starck said the only objects that he still felt attached to were “a pillow perhaps and a good mattress.” But the thing one needs most, he added, was the “ability to love”.