Christian Long

Philippe Starck: Thinks Deep on Design

In TED Talks on May 5, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Reflection by BRENDON O.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Philippe Starck: Thinks Deep on Design

Philippe Starck is an amazing designer, but is nothing close to a public speaker.

I could not understand a word he said over his accent and horrible pronunciation. Even after looking at the transcript on ted.com, I could not understand his talk. It was full of half analogies and was not focused on one point or series of points. It was just a hodgepodge of topics relating to design.

Since not a word was understandable and his talk was not conclusive, I can only attempt to verbalize what he meant to say.

Design needs to be taken into consideration from the perspective of the user, not from the view of style and embellishment. True design is that which is functional while being elegant, instead of being stylish and performing no real use. He uses the example of the toothbrush. One needs to design a toothbrush from the view of the user. Think of the user’s mouth and teeth. Think how the toothbrush functions for their benefit; looks are just an additional design element. Functionality before appearance is the key to true, beneficial design.

Although why design?

One designs for progress. He compares it to a person looking at various angles. If one is looking down, they cannot see where they are going, which is dangerous. If they are looking up at the sky, they have no direction, which is pointless. Ideally, one is looking forward. At this angle, they have a direction; they can see where they are going. Each generation of designers needs to discard the previous generations’ designs and make their own progress. One generation passes on to the next, but the next generation improves and its designers use their own ideas.

Outside of these points, I cannot interpret any more of Starck’s talk, but I will continue watching it and hopefully I will find a new breakthrough.

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