Philippe Starck is a French designer known since the start of his career in the 1980s for his interior, product, industrial and architectural design including furniture.
The son of an aeronautical engineer, Starck studied at the École Camondo in Paris. An inflatable structure he imagined in 1969 was a first incursion into questions of materiality, and an early indicator of Starck's interest in where and how people live. In the same year, Pierre Cardin appointed Starck as the art director of his furniture sector.
While working for Adidas, Starck set up his first industrial design company, Starck Product – which he later renamed Ubik after Philip K. Dick's novel – and began working with manufacturers in Italy – Driade, Alessi, Kartell – and internationally, including Austria's Drimmer, Vitra in Switzerland and Spain's Disform. His concept of democratic design led him to focus on mass-produced consumer goods rather than one-off pieces, seeking ways to reduce cost and improve quality in mass-market goods.
In 1983, French President François Mitterrand, on the recommendation of his Minister of Culture, Jack Lang, chose Starck to refurbish the president's private apartments at the Élysée. The following year he designed the Café Costes.