Philippe Starck has, for a long time, been in the enviable position of designing whatever he likes and getting paid for it. And the designs themselves always seem to be right on the cutting edge (if I can use that term without inducing your derision) – a thoughtful and unique mix of old and new and never-before-seen. Remember his genius citrus juicer that’s part sci-fi, part Beetlejuice and all parts totally clever and (deceptively) simple?
Recently, however, Starck has been having doubts about his sense of purpose, telling The Independent that not being able to save lives and tackle key global issues in his work leaves him feeling “impotent.” To that I say: get over it. You’re rich and famous and yet you still can’t save the world, boo freaking hoo. Design was never meant to solve the global debt crisis and it never will, unless, of course, you can design a better economic system and power structure for the entire world.
Still, Starck wanted to do something to better people’s lives (though frankly, Philippe, your juicer has done wonders for me already), so in an effort to design “democratic and affordable products” he made a photo booth, noting that photos “help us to exist.” Not that I disagree with that, but most people, even some of the poorest, have phones with a camera feature, which are not only mobile, but manipulable through apps, many of which are also free. And for those people who don’t have phones I doubt a Philippe Starck photo booth is coming to their corner of the world any time soon. And even if it did, it’d have to be solar powered. That, I’d like to see.
As if his photo booth idea wasn’t half-baked and out of date to begin with, Starck also bemoaned the likelihood that his photo booths would just be vandalized anyway. “Twenty years ago,” he said, “it was possible to design something pretty and people to respect it. Not now.” Oh yeah, ‘cuz graffiti is a new invention.