The son of an aeronautical engineer, Philippe Starck was born in Paris in 1949 and attended the École Nissim de Camondo in Paris from 1965 until 1967. In 1969 Philippe Starck became art director at Pierre Cardin. In the 1970s Philippe Starck embarked on a career as an interior decorator; stylish early interiors he designed include the "La Main Bleue" bar in Montreuil (1976) and "Les Bains Douches" in Paris (1978). In 1980 he founded Starck Products and, in 1985, a furniture-making firm, XO (with Gerard Mialet). In 1982 Philippe Starck was one of the designers commissioned by François Mitterand to refurbish his private apartments in the Elysée Palace in Paris. The interior Philippe Starck designed for Café Costes in Paris (1984) made Philippe Starck famous worldwide. One of the pieces of furniture he designed for the café was the elegant "Costes" shair (for Driade). From then on Philippe Starck could pick and choose from any number of prestigious interior design commissions around the world. Philippe Starck designed the interiors of such New York boutique hotels as the Royalton (1988) and the Paramount (1990). In 1988 Philippe Starck came up with "Ará", a horn-shaped metal table lamp that has been one of his most successful lamp designs. It was for Alessi that Philippe Starck designed his signature, a long-legged octopus of a lemon squeezer, the "Juicy Salif" (1990/91) and "Hot Bertaa", a kettle. Philippe Starck is just as famous for the seating furniture he has designed; some of the many popular pieces include "Dr. Sonderbar" (1983, for XO), "Von Vogelsang" (1984, Driade), "Lola Mundo" (1986, Driade), "Richard III" (1981, Baleri), and "Lord Yo" (1994, Driade). The "W.W. Stool" is a 1994 Philippe Starck design for Vitra and the "Prince Aha" stool dates from 1996 (Kartell). For Kartell Philippe Starck has also designed the highly successful Ghost line of chairs and armchairs of transparent polycarbonate. Look where you will, you will invariably spot a Philippe Starck designer object for any purpose you can think of; Starck is definitely one of the giants of contemporary design. When Philippe Starck was given the 2004 Lucky Strike Designer Award by the Raymond Loewy Foundation for his life's work, the jury justified their choice as follows: "Philippe Starck is probably the most unusual, quirkiest, and most exciting designer of the past twenty years and is likely to be for decades to come."