Starck reality

With its radical simplicity and deep respect for water as the source of life, Axor Starck is as relevant and successful today as ever – 25 years after its launch

From Axor:

Launched in 1994, Axor Starck was a faucet collection that would change bathroom design forever. In celebration, Philippe Starck sat down with Axor to discuss the birth of an icon.

How did the idea for the Axor Starck collection arise?  

Philippe Starck: The idea was very simple because, with me, everything is simple. It’s just water, the beauty of water. 

And it was a great honour for me to speak about water because I love water. 

I live on water. I’m always close to water. And there is a beauty in water. 

The more you put things – materiality – around water, the less it’s beautiful. The idea was to make a design that was deeply, structurally respectful of water. 

And strangely, I had the idea of a farm. It’s very simple on an old farm, the relation with water. 

You have the water from a source. There is a pipe. You have a bucket. You have a pump [makes pumping gesture] and the water goes in the bucket. 

And the silhouette of the pump is like this [gestures the outline of a pump and of Axor Starck]

The first thing to bring water in history was the pump, and everything was to make the design as simple as this.


Were there any significant challenges which had to be overcome?  

Philippe Starck: Strangely, the biggest challenge was to fight trends. 

This market, which is a very serious market, had the funny idea at this time that we could change a faucet or sink every two years, like a miniskirt, which is completely ridiculous. 

When I brought my faucet, it was a big surprise because it was not fancy design. 

I even remember some people told me, “Yes, it’s nice, but you know, it’s not very Starck.” 

And I said, “What is Starck?" 

They said, “You know, things like that [makes an elaborate hand gesture].” 

I said, ‘Yes, but for water, we don’t need things like that. We just need to have the water, the beauty of the water.” But after the initial surprise, there was a unanimity, and I think I can say – we can say – that it completely changed the market.

25 years since its launch, Axor Starck is as successful as ever. Why has it achieved this success?  

Philippe Starck: Because there’s nothing useless. 

Because the clear vision of making a model and collection absolutely timeless – based on the right quality, right intelligence, right vision, right ergonomics – was right.

And looking forward to the next 25 years, how might this collection evolve? What could become of it? 

Philippe Starck: Who knows? Because in 25 years we shall be alive or we shall be dead. 

During this time, there will be people dying because some have too much water [because of rising oceans], some have no water, some have polluted water. 

Water is really the centre of everything. And how we shall drive this urgent subject? 

That will be the right question. 

I repeat: People right now are dying. 

You know, we have seen beautiful civilisations disappear faster than what [is happening] today. 

That’s why, in 25 years, what will become of the faucet? 

I don’t know – because I don’t know what will be [the situation with] the water.

Find out more about Axor Starck and other Axor faucet designs

Jul 17, 2019
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