Industry Icons: Philippe Starck - Insights

Industry Icons: Philippe Starck

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The men’s room of the Felix in Hong Kong.

Designer Philippe Starck may be world-renowned for his household products, but many may be unaware of his involvement – and influence – in the hotel industry.

Born in France in 1949, Starck is the brains behind such iconic items such as the Juicy Salif and the Louis Ghost chair. It was his vision for interior design that appealed greatly to hotelier Ian Schrager.

In 1988, Schrager hired Starck to reimagine the internal spaces of the Royalton in New York. Under Starck’s guidance, a startling blue rug – which ran the full length of the extraordinarily long lobby – greeted guests as they entered the hotel. Visitors were further transfixed by the sunken lounge area that was populated with Starck-designed furniture and decorated with touches of green, orange and purple. Snake and horn motifs abounded, from handles to lamps and light fixtures.

The hint of the surreal thrilled the hotel patrons, and Schrager set Starck to work on two further hotel projects in New York: the Paramount in 1990, with a lobby that evoked a 1930s film set; and the Hudson in 2000, which featured no signage – just a bright yellow entranceway beckoning would-be guests.

Continuing to work with other hoteliers, Starck would also be responsible for projects such as the 2001 renovation of the Clift in San Francisco, and the 2007 design of the Hotel Fasano in Rio de Janeiro which pays homage to the golden age of bossa nova, among others.

Not content to work exclusively on hotel design, Starke has also several restaurants in his portfolio. Of particular note was his involvement with The Peninsula Hong Kong. Named for our first Industry IconFelix Bieger – Starck created a “crazy, poetic theatre, contrasting with the ultra-materialistic reality of the city it resides above.” The men’s room itself is particularly famous in Hong Kong.

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The Felix in Hong Kong, named for industry icon, Felix Bieger.

More recently, Stark has has been working with entrepreneur Sam Nazarian on SLS Hotels. The luxury hotel chain has current and future locations across the US and the Bahamas, including the 184-room Seattle SLS due for completion in 2017.

We look forward with anticipation as to whatever comes next from the mind of this iconic designer.

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