Making Design History: 25 Years of Starck and Duravit

Posted on August 4, 2014 by Liz

“If you’re lucky enough to have a good idea, you’re duty-bound to share it.” Philippe Starck.

July 2014 marked 25 years of French designer Starck working with international bathroom product developer Duravit. During this time, he has shared a vast amount of ideas with the company including designs for timeless bathroom classics and concepts for everything from innovative shower-toilets to the architecture of the company’s office and showroom at its German headquarters.

Philippe Starck by Jean-Baptiste Mondino

The charismatic partnership began in 1989, when Duravit wrote to Starck and proposed that he joined them in developing innovative designs to take the sanitary ware market by storm. In return, Starck invited them to visit and consequently they decided to work together – a decision that has since proved incredibly successful: together, Philippe Starck and Duravit have made design history.

Starck recognised that it was not necessary to reinvent the wheel in order to create contemporary shapes. Instead, he based his design on the re-discovery of ancient forms, taking archetypal objects and translating them for Duravit into ceramic and acrylic in a way that had never been done before. In 1994 he unveiled his first creation for the designer bathroom manufacturer: the Starck 1 range, based on archaic objects such as a washbowl and bucket. Next came the launch of the Starck 2 ceramics range in 1998, inspired by the motion of water. Although very varied in form, the resulting washbowls, washbasins, toilets and bidets all carry Philippe Starck’s distinctive design signature.

25 Years of Starck

They say that the best things come in threes, in this case the addition of the Starck 3 range, unveiled by Duravit in 2002. These were more pared-down forms, able to blend effortlessly into any bathroom. However things didn’t end there, the success story continued in 2011 with the first ever shower-toilet, also designed by Starck. He then went on to design the first steam shower, the St.Trop, based on the idea of a painting (the shower door represents a large picture frame, the white background forms the canvas and the person taking a shower becomes the motif, completing the ‘work of art’).

Starck has clearly had a strong influence on Duravit’s products and on the company as a whole. He even went a step further by designing a whole building for Duravit that reflects their dedication to good design. The resulting structure, the Duravit Design Center in Hornberg, is extraordinary in terms of both its exterior form and its interior finishings, featuring an outrageous giant toilet spanning three floors cut into its front façade. Visible from far and wide around the Black Forest, it definitely makes a bold design statement!

Duravit Design Center, Hornberg

The combined talents of Duravit and Starck have been a winning combination and we look forward to many more years of great design from both!