Philippe Starck: Furniture & Objects

June 20–August 29, 1999

Beginning June 20, P.S.1 presents Philippe Starck: Furniture & Objects, a collection of signature works by the influential contemporary designer. On view in P.S.1’s light-filled Kunsthalle, the exhibition includes a selection of works highlighting Starck’s creative transformation of simple objects such as a toothbrush or a fly-swatter into exotic, brightly colored, sculptural forms. The objects are paired with a collection of Starck’s singular chairs, whose inventiveness ranges from a spiky-legged, biomorphic turquoise stool to a formal, cushioned chair featuring a portrait of the designer on its high back.

Philippe Starck is one of the first contemporary designers to achieve broad public recognition. Celebrated in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a “rock star of architecture,” Starck has been instrumental in establishing the prominence of contemporary design. An efficient and prolific artist, Starck has reinvented everything from a toothpick to the largest waste disposal center in Europe. His persistently inventive work draws on surrealist influences and a science fiction aesthetic, adopting organic shapes such as horns and vines and dynamic abstract forms. On view at P.S.1, his Royalton Bar Stool features long, curved, plant-like legs and an orange velvet seat, while his citrus squeezer resembles a spacecraft taking off. Starck’s whimsical approach to design is likewise reflected in titles such as Prince Aha, Juicy Salif, Dr. Kiss, and Miss Trip. This collection of Starck’s work is drawn from his design period, which ranges from 1989 to the present.

Philippe Starck was born in Paris in 1949 and designed his first piece of furniture, the 1968 Francesca Folding Chair, at the age of 18. In 1982-83, he laid out a room with four other designers in the Élysée Palace for President François Mitterand, which included his curved back spiky-legged chair. He was quickly boosted to stardom in 1984 when he designed the Café Costes in Paris, and more than 400,000 copies of the Café Costes chair were sold by 1990. His own La Cigale discotech was built in Paris in 1988, and he was invited by Studio 54 creator Ian Schrager to design everything down to the bathroom fixtures of the Royalton hotel in New York, the Delano hotel in Miami, and the Mondrian hotel in Los Angeles. Starck has created furniture and household objects, among other things, for the companies Alessi, Kartell, Driade, Daum, Sasaki, and Vittel. Starck currently lives and works in New York, where he is working on more hotel projects, developing a catalogue business, and continuing to design a wide range of objects.


This exhibition of work by Philippe Starck is presented at P.S.1 in an installation designed by Philip Johnson. Philippe Starck: Furniture & Objects is presented in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art. The collection of works assembled by David Whitney are a proposed gift to The Museum of Modern Art.