Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Why design? Philippe Starck on

Why design? Philippe Starck on via TED | TEDBlog by on 12/4/07

The importance of design is made ever more apparent through the explorations done through this weblog, not only in terms of marketing, technology and architecture but biology and physics. Philippe Strarck provides inspiration beyond his physical designs.

Legendary designer Philippe Starck -- with no pretty slides behind him -- spends 17 minutes reaching for the very roots of the question "Why design?" Along the way he drops brilliant insights into the human condition; listen carefully for one perfectly crystallized motto for all of us, genius or not. Yet all this deep thought, he cheerfully admits, is to aid in the design of a better toothbrush. (Recorded March 2007 in Monterey, California. Duration: 17:07.)


You will understand nothing with my type of English. Is good for you because you can have a break, after all these fantastic people. I must tell you I am like that [shakes hands], not very comfortable, because usually, in life, I think my job is absolutely useless. I mean, I feel useless. Now, after Carolyn [Porco], and all the other guys, I feel like shit. And definitively, I don't know why I am here, but -- you know the nightmare, like you are an impostor, you arrive at the opera, and they push you, "You must sing!" [gasp!] I don't know.

So! So! Because I have nothing to show, nothing to say, we shall try to speak about something else.

Because there is different types of design. The one, we can call it the cynical design, that means the design invented by Raymond Loewy in the '50s, who said, what is ugly is a bad sale, La Laideur se vend mal, which is terrible. It means the design must be just a weapon for marketing, for producer to make product more sexy, like that, they sell more, it's shit, it's obsolete, it's ridiculous. I call that the cynical design. After, there is the narcissistic design; it's a fantastic designer who designs only for other fantastic designers. [laughs] After there is people like me, who try to deserve to exist, and who are ashamed to make this useless job, who try to do it in another way, and they try, I try, to not make the object for the object but for the result, for the profit for the human being, the person who will use it.

That is our poetry. That is our beautiful story. It's our romanticism: Mutation. We are mutants. And if we don't deeply understand, if we don't integrate that we are mutants, we completely miss the story.

And here is something: Nobody is obliged to be a genius, but everybody is obliged to participate. And to participate, for a mutant, there is a minimum of exercise, a minimum of sport ... The first, if you want, there is so many, but one which is very easy to do, is the duty of vision. I can explain you. I shall try.

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