Apple and Philippe Starck? I Don’t See It.

According to, Philippe Starck said in a french radio interview that he’s working with Apple on a “revolutionary” new product to be unveiled within a year. The speculation is that they’re collaborating on TVs, since Starck has designed them before.

I have trouble believing that these two design giants are really working together; it seems to me that they have totally different ideas about what good design is.

With its many products, especially under Steve Jobs, Apple has put into practice the philosophy that excellent design is not showy, and that it’s all about the user. Apple hardware is unobtrusively gorgeous — the opposite of bling — and it generates such immense profits and market value because it succeeds so brilliantly at letting everyone from toddlers to grandparents access the digital world. Apple gear is fun to look at, but it’s even more fun to use. It’s intuitive and unobtrusive, and accomplishes the hard work of being both elegant and hyper-functional.

Starck’s gear, let’s be frank, does not. Here’s his fruit juicer:

One of his more famous chairs:

And a TV:

Maybe you like the look of these and maybe you don’t (I don’t), but do you want to use any of them? Can you imagine trying to actually squeeze some OJ with that juicer, or have dinner in the Ghost chair? You acquire Starck products because you want to have them, not because you want to use them.

That’s precisely not the case with Apple products, which is why I have trouble believing in this partnership. Am I missing something? Leave a comment, please, and let us know.