The year 2019 marks 20 years of Design for All by Target, an important milestone in the battle towards accessible design for the American retail chain. 20 years ago, back in 1999, when Starck began to collaborate with Target, his own battle towards democratic design was already well under way.
The Beginning of Democratic Design
From the beginning, Philippe Starck’s designs were intended for society as a whole. His belief that “it's not hard to make one object which costs one million dollars, but it's hard to make one million objects which cost one dollar each” led to the invention of theconcept of democratic design to “improve quality while striving to make design accessible to the greatest number of people, at affordable prices.” Ph.S
The creator believes that sincere, modern elegance comes from the multiplication of an object, as opposed to the ideology of limited editions, where premeditation on rarity leads to selection through wealth rather than necessity. This democratic approach has been deployed by Philippe Starck in all domains over his career and his collaboration with Target is just one example that allowed him to widely express his vision of what a product should be.
Joining Forces with Target
“I was talking with my American agent and he said,
"You have to work with Target. They’re the only ones who can develop this vision.”
We quickly connected with Target’s President.
He spoke with honesty and humanity. He wasn’t cynical.
We shared the same values.
The same vision.
We were two people trying to make the best for our fellow citizens.”
Target afforded Philippe Starck a complete blank page and the creator took the opportunity to imagine everything from scratch, designing a collection of objects for use in everyday life. With the aim of reinventing the objects that people are usually not particularly proud of or are even ashamed of, he went about drawing toothbrushes, baby’s bottles, waste paper bins; a selection of the humblest items in everyday life. He used his know-how, ethic, humor and poetry to reinvent these objects in an ultra-creative manner and at the right price,to modestly enhance the daily lives of American people.
In 2002, the 59 everyday objects entirely imagined by Philippe Starck hit the shelves of Target stores all over America. From sippy cups to diaper bags, tape dispensers and magazine racks, American homes from Minneapolis to San Francisco were beginning to grow with the Starck Reality collection. Over the years since the launch of the collection, many museums and institutions like the Centre Pompidou in Paris or the MoMA in New York have even acquired items from the Target Starck Reality collection for their design collections.
Celebrating 20 years of Design for All
Starck never ceases to push the boundaries and requirements of contemporary design, and he has done so over the years with a rigorous mission. This citizen of the world, who considers it his duty to share his ethical and subversive vision of a fairer planet, creates unconventional places and objects whose purpose is to be “good” before being beautiful. His mission, his vision is that creation, whatever form it takes, must improve the lives of as many people as possible.
“If you are lucky enough to have a good idea, your duty is to share it with the maximum amount of people.” Ph.S
Now in 2019, Target is celebrating the design partners who have taken the journey with them towards accessible design. They have selected 20 key ‘moments’ as truly iconic standouts, including the Starck Reality collection.
“He’s a genius. It’s so painstakingly hard to make things looks that simple.”
Patrick Douglas, Director of Strategy and Advanced Development, Product Design and Development at Target.
The #Target20 campaign launched in Target stores and online as of September 14th 2019. Three iconic Starck Reality creations, revealed this summer, will be reissued as part of this Design For All campaign : the sippy cup, baby bowl and baby fork and spoon.
For more information : www.target.com
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