W.W. Stool

Philippe Starck

Design: 1990
Production: 1992 to the present
Manufacturer: Vitra AG, Basel
Size: 97 x 56 x 53 cms
Material: varnished sand-cast aluminum

Philippe Starck describes himself as an autodidact who, at the age of nineteen, had already founded his first company for inflatable furniture. In the media he is regarded as a star. He came to fame in the late seventies and early eighties with his interiors for nightclubs and cafes in Paris, especially Café Costes (1984), which became famous for the three-legged chair sold worldwide that bore its name. In 1982 Starck came to prominence, when the then-president of France, François Mitterrand, commissioned the newcomer to furnish his private chambers in the Elysée Palace. Since the beginning of the eighties, Starck has successfully created designs for industrial production in various sectors. Among his preferences are aluminum and more or less long, streamlined “horns.” This is no doubt a legacy of his father who, as an aircraft mechanic and inventor, worked with this material and these forms. However, Starck does not attempt to imitate aerodynamic profiles but instead reinterprets them biomechanically. His ingenuity appears inexhaustible, his repertoire of forms infinite. He christens his creations with names from science fiction novels, for example the “Ubik” series by the Italian manufacturer Driade, from the novel of the same name by American author Philip K. Dick. The stool, or more accurately the standing aid “W.W. Stool,” is part of an imaginative office ensemble which Starck sketched for film director Wim Wenders in 1990. A sculptural look dominates the surrealist appearance of this object. On the one hand, a “stool” is defined as a piece of seating furniture; on the other, it is defined as a sprout, which implies the possible source of inspiration. Thus, the sculptural surface of the seat and back has the effect of a germinating rhizome, with three roots growing into the floor, while the shoot winds its way upward. The branching of the front “root” serves as footrest. The biomechanical element in Starck’s design style can be compared to that of Luigi Colani and his “bio-design”; both designers are also active in a wide range of design fields. PD

Philippe Starck

Philippe Starck W.W. Stool