Philippe Starck and Kartell: A Minimalism Approach

The concept of minimalism explored by Kartell and Philippe Starck: Generic is an ambitious project with profoundly ethical implications and connotations, in which new goals and objectives are set for contemporary design and creativity attempts to satisfy the general public. Join us and meet this amazing collaboration between the Italian company Kartell and the French designer Philippe Starck.

Philippe Starck. Image Source:

For those who aren’t familiar with the lead actors in this collaboration, Kartell is a leading design company, founded in 1949 by Giulio Castelli and now run by Claudio Luti. Kartell is one of the symbols of Italian design around the world with a success story told through an incredible series of products – furniture, furnishings, lighting, home accessories – that have become part of the domestic landscape, not to mention actual contemporary design icons. The brand now has over 130 single-brand flagship stores, 250 shop-in-shops and 2,500 retailers in over 130 countries. As to Philippe Starck, the French designer is known since the start of his career in the 1980s for his interior, product, industrial and architectural design including furniture. A career rich with 10,000 creations, global fame and tireless inventiveness should never overshadow the essential. Philippe Starck has a mission, a vision that creation, whatever form it takes, must improve the lives of as many people as possible.

Image Source: Utility Design

With the Generic family, Kartell explores the concept of minimalism and the natural evolution of a traditional chair. The designer’s intention was to identify the “generics” of chairs used in public spaces, hence the creation of a new family of seats with a functional and basic design. The first chairs in the collection designed by Philippe Starck, which can be purchased through Kartell’s sales channels, are the A model and the C model.

Generic A Model. Image Source: AmbienteDirect

Philippe Starck explains that “generics are things that we no longer see because they have become hidden or so integrated into our lives, our culture, that we have almost forgotten they existed. We need things that no longer speak, in other words, things that exist, nothing more. Being, being, and no longer speaking. But also a bit of comfort and a bit of tenderness. Generic are explorations: the wish to open up, to clean up and reach the core in order to identify and extract the minimum, this minimum thing which deserves to exist and from which the true beauty comes from. Generic chairs are square roots, minimums, they are structurally timeless and elegant because they are indivisible”.

Philippe StarckImage Source: AMBROISE MAGGIAR

Thanks to the creative concept by Philippe Starck, Kartell has identified the “generics” of community seating. Hence the launch of Generic A, a chair designed for office environments and available in six different matt and soft touch finishes. It is defined by a high seat back, wide armrests and a functional design. “Generic A (as in Administration) is the skeleton, the core, the essence of chairs that you can find in hospitals, police stations, ministries. It bears this deeply elegant, mysterious obviousness”, explains Starck.

Philippe StarckImage Source:

The Generic C is a chair intended for the world of cafés, bars, restaurants and recreational spaces, also available in six different matt and soft touch finishes. Similarly to the A model, the Generic C also has a high seat back, armrests that are generously proportioned and functional design. “Generic C (as in Café) explores the cafés’ furniture. Every day, millions of people sit on those chairs, which shapes change and sometimes become weird. Generic C is the functional structure, the generic version, which goes towards the essence of this type of furniture”.

Philippe Starck

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