Philippe Starck Interview with MINT Magazine

News - Philippe Starck Interview with MINT Magazine

Mint Magazine speak to Philippe Starck about his relationship with Panchshil Realty and how he came to work with them on YOO Pune.

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What was your vision for YOOpune? Tell us the backstory of how you, John and Bill (Bensley) got together on working at this property in Pune.

All YOO projects are about you. When I first met John, about 14 years ago, we had a big dream: to create a company that creates a new types of community; a tribe of like-minded people. Where people come together to share ideas, nurture their families. It’s about citizenship. About being part of a unit, a society.  A new way of life. YOO is really about politics, about democracy, about ecology, rebellion and revolution and things like that... It is really a political work. YOO Pune is a 17 acre site of stunning natural beauty. When I saw it for the first time, I imagined an island of paradise. A place to fall in love, amongst the beauty of India’s gardens. Bill has an intuition about how landscaping kisses the buildings and form part of the whole experience of a place. Creating a seamless journey from the outside to the inside and from the heart to the body. I want children, lovers, families to be able to run from the beautiful interiors into magnificent gardens in an uninterrupted wonderland of curiosity.

Looking at the pictures, the property looks like a global, contemporary space, but strewn with some fun and humour, some iconic and standout pieces, a balance of urban yet a basic community / family orientation. Give us a feel of one of the homes. Also, I believe there are two options—nature and classic. Tell us about those.

I wanted to create a place that draws people together, that makes them laugh. What is the world without happiness?  I design to create conversation, to create happiness. I have included beautiful pieces that titillate and mesmerise and, hopefully, make people think and talk.

I created two styles for YOO Pune. The nature palette is for those who love to live with fresh air, blue sky, the smell of rising sun, purity and simplicity. The colours and materials are drawn from a gentle spectrum of natural hues: pale, sun and sea bleached wood, and sand and pebble-grey mixed with soft green.

Classic is most appealing to the connoisseur with an understanding and enjoyment of the finer things in life. Classic is deeply tactile and sensual, appealing to all the senses with soft leathers, dark woods and lots of mahogany. This is a sophisticated style with a strong mix of classic elements and contemporary objects.

You design across categories: furniture, accessories, bath fittings, timepieces. Does doing the interiors involve a culmination of all? There are things like comfort, familiarity, personality, individual characteristics, it’s something that grows into a ‘home’ over time. How do you weave all that into your thought process while designing a home?

I do not care much for design and architecture per se; I care about politics, about creating communities and improving people’s lives. I create places that people want to be, to come together to share ideas, share a common sense of values.  My work is about human values, creativity, love, passion and respect. A place is not about physical objects, it is about people. Unlike objects like furniture, fashion, etc , buying a home can be a family’s biggest purchase of their lifetime. And that home will define them and the way they live. I design to help people better understand themselves, to enjoy their lives, to 

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With YOO, you’ve been designing in world cities like Miami or New York. How was the experience of working for a property in India? Did you keep the community, any Indian-isms, idiosyncrasies, culture specific focus, while designing for Pune?

I have always loved India. I have been traveling to India since I was a very young man, and I keep coming back. I have had a lifetime love affair with India.

Wherever I work - country, city, place – they all have their own ideas about politics, their own ideas about what is family, what is community. I care about politics, about the world and the universe. I focus on the democratisation of design. There is bigger thinking than just regional cultures. I spend time thinking about the constructs of society, how communities are created and the formation of stars. My work is a reflection of my thoughts about these things. My desire is to find real solutions to specific quality of life issues.

The one thing that is definitely drawn from the locale however, is the Osho sandal details I use in the dining area (see above). The OSho Meditation Centre in Pune is a campus for contemplation, centering and thought. I have taken elements that are associated with this place and included them in a playful ceiling detail in the kitchen area. Whenever I look up at it, I feel relaxed.

This is your first project for India. Apart from YOOpune, are there any Indian associations / inspirations from India in any of your other work, or future projects? Anything that has drawn you to India culture or design.

Panchshil Realty in Pune is one of India's premium real estate development companies. It is a pleasure to work with such visionary partners. YOO inspired by Starck has also launched Lodha Evoq at New Cuffe Parade in Mumbai in collaboration with the brilliant team at Lodha Group. I say no to about 85-90% of projects. At YOO we are very careful about who we work with. We collaborate with partners who are intrepid, brave and bold. Honest.



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