Esteemed designer Philippe Starck spoke to a reporter at the 2015 Euroluce festival in Milan, where he launched ‘Ether’, a new range of LED light-bulbs for Flos. He has been working happily in tangent with Flos for 25 years now, and it is not difficult to see why, looking at his adaptability and proclivity for beautiful lighting.
Philippe Starck first made his name in 1982, when he was commissioned by the then-president of France, Francois Mitterrand, to design interior space for the private apartments in the opulent Élysée Palace.
Quickly following this remarkable endeavour, he designed the world-famous Café Costes and sealed his position as a world-class designer. His career would lead him down all avenues including that of lighting design: and he found Flos to be a natural calling.
Philippe Starck and his work with Flos – the classic Miss K Lamp
Starck was a perfect fit for Flos, with his belief in ‘democratic design’; products that would be inclusive to all people while retaining a distinctive elegance.
As he eloquently stated when asked if he enjoyed his work with Flos:
there is no beautiful children if parents are not in love.
In many ways, the classic Miss K Lamp, released in the early 2000’s epitomises the artists philosophy on design and its impact on the world.
The polycarbonate materials are worked majestically; the inner diffuser appears through a delicate outer methacrylate diffuser, with a transparent PMMA foot, wire and dimmer to create a play of light that is quite spectacular.
It was designed with Starck’s ongoing philosophy of democratic design in mind: this was an affordable but attention-grabbing lamp that fitted easily into the average bedroom and living space. With four different colours available, there was something for everyone’s individual taste.
With subtle horizontal lines in the outer shade and its slim trumpet base the Miss K is a sublimely feminine piece of tabletop architecture.
The longevity of the Miss K range and of Philippe Starck
The Miss K was a hit with the general public as well as fellow designers, and it’s popularity would endure well past its release date in 2003.
The Miss K Soft was released in 2018, a reinterpretation of the classic design with a more slender and elegant take on the original.
Other excellent collaborations between Flos and Philippe Starck
The Flos K S3 Pendant
Following the huge success of the Miss K table lamp, Starck followed up with its natural successor – this eponymous Flos K S3 Pendant lamp arrived to consumers in 2005.
The Flos K Pendant holds many similarities to Miss K lamp, belonging to the same Flos ‘K-Tribe’. This model boasts the same stylish textured glass shade of the classic Miss K, with the primary difference its purpose as a suspension lamp.
Like all beautiful suspension lamps, it particularly dazzling when grouped together multiple pendants of the same kind in a large interior area, such as a living room or dining hall.
Flos Romeo Babe Wall / Ceiling Lights
Another affordable yet elegant offering from Philippe Starck came in 1997 with the Romeo Babe series; with both a suspension and wall light variants.
The wall sconce provides your interior home with a low voltage, calm diffused light. With an acid-etched pressed glass internal diffuser and a textured glass shade, with subtle grey hues from the aluminium support. This was another contemporary lighting fixture that caught the imagination of the mass market; ideal for offering stylish indoor light to contemporary homes.
It’s suspension light counterpart is perfect for landings, hallways and large interior areas, where it is sure to be an attention grabber with visitors.
Flos Clessidra Wall Light
Another unique design from Starck, the Clessidra Wall Light has a compact and simple form, that harkens back to the torch style archetype of outdoor lighting.
The design is inspired by the shape of an hourglass, the Clessidra emits both direct and indirect light for magical outdoor ambience. We here at Sparks provide both the 20 degree and 40 degree tilt angle versions, dependent on your preference.
With high-efficiency lenses specially designed for the application, this is a highly contemporary, forward-thinking design by Starck and co-creator Antonio Citterio, made in 2011.
Philippe Starck – accolades, awards, philosophy
Philippe Starck is still very much going strong, having received a ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award at the India Design Forum in Sri Lanka, in honour of his contribution to the design industry.
It was at this event that he reiterated his view that with his designs, he wished to create:
a fairer planet… creating unconventional places and with a purpose of being good before being beautiful
It is this distinctive humanity and lack of pretension that has made all of Starck’s designs, including the Miss K, Romeo and Clessidra range.
This article takes inspiration from the following sources:
- Philippe Starck’s personal website, for information on his life and work.
- For his history in design and architecture in France, before he worked with Flos.
- The philosophy of Starck as a designer and how it influenced his work with Flos.
- Starck’s future ambitions with Flos, plans to adapt to the LED age