A design guru speaks on architecture

Continuing a look at world-changing design from the annual Fast Company series, 2007 Masters of Design, we introduce to you Philippe Starke from France, one of the elite who brings extraordinary design to the masses via Target.

He is currently garnering an international reputation for the emotional connections people have to the apartments and workplaces his company develops, many of which are historic renovations. No, they are not affordable by any means, but their fresh person-centric, design-focused development approach is (it should be no coincidence the name of the company is Yoo). Here are some quotes and principles from Starck, which may sometimes sound un-architect, un-developer like, and that’s the point:

“Yoo helps people discover themselves. I don’t design apartments; I help people to design them. The style of tomorrow will be the freedom and recognition of difference. We must replace the name ‘beautiful’ by the name ‘good’. Beautiful means nothing. The most ‘beautiful’ building is any room where you are with the person you love. That’s all.”

“By now, we know very well the members of our tribe – they are smart, modern, rebels, aware. So in our buildings, everybody is potentially a friend, partner, lover. I work a lot on the energy of the place. In Montreal, I put a gym in the lobby so each day, when you leave for work, you make a race on the stationary bikes with your neighbor. Or there’s a huuuge table, on which everybody can make a big banquet.”

“Usually the developer is just a greedy guy trying to make maximum money. And the architect is the guy who think his job is just to put people out of the cold and rain into steel, glass, and stone. Today, all buildings are narcissistic masturbation to the glory of the guys who design them. This was a little fun 25 years ago when architecture was sleeping. Now it’s time to come back to quality. I want somebody walking by on the street to say, ‘Look, darling. It can be good to live here. I think we could be at peace.’ The building should just have a technical elegance.”

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