Q&A Philippe Starck

Philippe Starck, the prolific Paris-born designer whose creations run the gamut from stylized juicers and toothbrushes to superyachts, transparent chairs, and the interiors of high-profile restaurants and hotels the world over, has put his cheeky, inimitable stamp on places in more than two dozen countries. Now, it’s Indonesia’s turn. The 64-year-old recently visited Bali to finalize designs for The Stairs, a 12-villa hotel slated to open early next year in the Petitenget area. DestinAsian caught up with Starck to discuss the project and his fondness for the island.

You’ve pretty much been everywhere. How does Bali stack up as a destination? I’m not a lover of palm trees or white-sand beaches. The perfect place for me is my oyster farm in France, with the cold wind and big Atlantic waves. Yet I’m very sentimental about Bali. I stayed here during a very difficult and long trip around the world in the early ’70s, when I was 23. Some countries were harder than others, but Bali was a paradise. Perhaps it is no longer the Eden that it was back then, but for me, the Balinese are still the most human people I have ever met.

And the food? I love to explore different cuisines. My favorite is when it’s spicy and reflects the colors of life, as Balinese food does.

How does the design of The Stairs reflect its locale? The Stairs does not follow any type of trend in decoration and architecture; it is self-designed, just following the beauty of the Balinese soul. It’s really a village of villas—human in scale, intimate, a little mysterious—but also with monumental public spaces. For me, this reflects the richness of Balinese villages, where daily life and human relations are entwined with the ever-present temples.

The villas’ glass facades feature graffiti-like designs by street artist JonOne. Why? JonOne’s work epitomizes the creative energy of the project. If these villas are charming, comfortable, and deeply human in the way they evoke a traditional Balinese house, they are also meant as a collision of past, present and future, of local art and global art.

You say your hotels are like movies. What sort of movie will The Stairs be? A movie where people share, where they feel more sparkling, more in love, more poetic. –David Tse

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