Philippe Starck: “The best ecological action is to think twice before buying something” | Valencian Community

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The French architect and designer Philippe Starck, and the curator of the MoMA in New York, Paola Antonelli, at the Palau de Les Arts in Valencia, this Thursday, together with the Andreu World logo, whose award they were members of the jury.
The French architect and designer Philippe Starck, and the curator of the MoMA in New York, Paola Antonelli, at the Palau de Les Arts in Valencia, this Thursday, together with the Andreu World logo, whose award they were members of the jury.Ana Escobar (EFE)

Philippe Starck is the author of multiple designs, some as iconic and famous as his Juicy Salif juicer for the brand Alessi, which resembles a stylized aluminum squid. Industrial designer and architect, the 72-year-old Frenchman is recognized worldwide for its functionality and, although he is not very fond of recognizing it, also for the aesthetics of his work. This Thursday he gave samples of his ideology in Valencia in a brief speech as president of the jury of the awards organized by Andreu World, one of the main manufacturers of chairs and tables in Spain, which were awarded within the framework of the program of Valencia World Capital of the Design 2022, which has the issue of sustainability as one of its backbones.

The designer of Pibal, a hybrid between bicycle and scooter, or of the Path prefabricated houses, told an audience full of proven professionals and some young talents that the best environmental action is to “think twice before buying something and acquiring products with good materials. , that it is not going to be obsolete in two years ”. “I don’t care about aesthetics. Today you can think that something is aesthetic and in two years we think it is shit. That’s not serious, “he added.

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“Why are we here? Do we need new chairs? ”He wondered. The answer lies in promoting sustainable and intelligent objects: “Perhaps we do not need to design more chairs, but we do need creators capable of designing long-lasting objects, both for their quality and for their vision of the future. In this sense, the creator praised the winning chair of the twentieth edition of the international competition, endowed with 5,000 euros, among the 450 projects presented, the MT Chair, by the young David Guilmain and Rafael Peris from Valencia. “It is very intelligent in its structure, very strong, using two plywood panels”, a cheap material that is easy to find and that does not harm the environment, he added.

Paola Antonelli, during her conference at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia.
Paola Antonelli, during her conference at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia.

Starck spoke in the room closest to the dome of the immense Palau de les Ars in Valencia, designed by Santiago Calatrava. His intervention gave way to another by Paola Antonelli, head of Design and Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, better known as MoMA, which has the aforementioned juicer in its collection and not precisely because of its functionality.

Antonelli’s speech concluded with a message quite different from that outlined by Starck: “Design does not have to be functional, the idea that it is a tool for solving problems is out of date.” Sometimes the design also creates problems, like that marvel of design and functionality that is the Kalashnikov rifle. What is the function? Antonelli wondered, before remembering that the tamagotchi, which has just turned 25, is “one of the great works of design” with one of the most absurd functions. “You have to open your mind about what design is,” he proposed.

“And design is the highest form of creative expression that we have, even more than art itself, since it must also be safe, innovative, responsible and sensitive to the environment. Designing something accessible and for the enjoyment of all – even if it is something simple and everyday – is, for me, creating a masterpiece, “he said. “It is a political tool,” he said. “However, the design also has to” be safe and innovative, responsible and sensitive to the environment. This adds a further degree of difficulty, ”he added.

The MT Chair, winner of the Andreu World awards.
The MT Chair, winner of the Andreu World awards.

The Milan-born expert uncovered her vision through her exhibitions at MoMA and her projects, emphasizing the need to put oneself in someone else’s shoes and to discover hidden realities through design. “As heartwarming as it sounds, most of the problems we have are solved through empathy and love, it all comes back to that.” He added: “The only way to understand the future is to analyze our environment. We have to consider other spaces and the other species that live with us. Design can allow us to leave a worthy legacy for future generations. We must be aware of the relevance of design as a political weapon ”, he added.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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