Le Web 3 '07: Philippe Starck: Better Sex Through Furniture

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Scoble and Starck

One of the most peripheral presentations has just turned into one of the most interesting. Robert Scoble briefly hijacked Philippe Starck’s presentation by presenting him with an Amazon Kindle, in the interests of getting a design critique. Starck’s verdict? He suggested you need the minimum of elements around the interesting thing, in this case, the screen. “The designer not humble enough to disappear,” he said. “The design is less modern than the concept. It is almost modern.”

He thinks Steve Jobs is “a genius. I look like a genius because of the leather pants.”

What else did Starck have to share with us? Well, it was something of a philosophical discussion, about lifestyle, business and design. He envisions a more ethical future, where we leave behind the age of the “targeted consumer” and objects where they are “10% used and 90% shit”.

No products for no consumers

Instead, he wants “no products” – 90% used, 10% of “I don’t know what”. They must deserve to exist: in the right ecological, economical, sexual and social positions. They’ll be bought by No Consumers: “guys like us who build the future; positive, modern rebels”. They will render “venal cynical companies” obsolete. Essentially he’s advocating an activist approach on design and commerce, around issues like ecology, organic food and politics.

Oh, and he wants to make people’s lives better, by putting sex into objects:

“You see sex is everywhere – in my business – no sex. Not one object speaking about sex.”

This is horrifying to a man who wants to devote one or two hours per day to sex….

The erotic potential of furniture

“A product is just a way of helping a friend have a better life – I want a better sexual life through furniture.”

In particular, as drugs allow people’s sex lives to remain strong into old age, furniture which can be used for both conventional and erotic purposes should be popular…

In the end, though, he message was: “Refuse to consume and refuse to produce. When you have no choice, do the minimum.”

An interesting message from a designer.

designecologyfurnitureKindlelewebphilippe starckPoliticsRobert ScoblesexSteve Jobs

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.