KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Apr 11 2011

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An Evening of Technology and Philosophy

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One of the most wonderful aspects of our industry is the opportunity for surprise. Last Wednesday night was one of those opportunities. It began with a close friend’s sigh, “This is what my social life has evolved into—I am looking forward to the opening of a toilet” and ended with a life lesson from a strange man in orange driving gloves waving a bath brush.

What caused this collision of angst and philosophy? It was none other than Philippe Starck and the launching in Manhattan of the SensoWash toilet by Duravit.

Border _SensoWash_toilet
The evening began with an almost poetic speech by the very distinguished and elegant Albrecht Graf von der Groeben of Duravit. He explained the SensoWash technology (truly innovative), he told us Duravit’s history (very sustainability oriented ) and he spoke about the 25 year collaboration between Duravit and Philippe Starck. And all the while Mr. von der Groeben was waxing rhapsodic; the orange gloved man was waving his brush behind him and breaking up the crowd. Mr. von der Groeben just smiled.

This strange man with the bath brush was none other than Philippe Starck himself. We know Philippe Starck as an Interior and product designer, but there is more. Mr. Starck is funny, a bit of a rake, certainly a cut up – and do I dare say it? A thinking man.

When asked about his advice to young designers Philippe Starck answered that “…we must be useful, think twice before designing useless things….” When asked about an architect’s role in the world he answered,”…..our job is to save lives….” When asked about what inspires him he answered, “……love, sex passion and poetry”, instead of the usual rote ode to other famous design names.

Last night Philippe Starck reminded me that I need to take myself less seriously, my impact on the world more seriously and have more fun along the way. I may even go out and buy orange driving gloves and a bath brush.

Roberta Kravette, LEED AP, AKBD

This entry was posted on Monday, April 11th, 2011 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Inspiration, Products. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1.  Florence Perchuk |


  2.  jb @BuildingMoxie |

    eloquently put Roberta (tho these are admittedly my first encounters with Philippe Starck). it sounded like a amazing evening. ~jb

  3.  Roberta |

    Florence we missed you!

    JB glad I could introduce you to a new source of inspiration! And we have to get you up to NYC for his next appearance!

  4.  jb @BuildingMoxie |

    we’ll see — thanks Roberta for the love.

  5.  NestbyTamara |

    who knew toilets could be so fun….he was very entertaining and was also great to see you there Roberta — wonderful story on the experience

  6.  Roberta |

    Absolutely! And so much fun sharing the experience with you!

  7.  marcyfeld |

    SensoWash with a sense of humor! Puts design…and life into perspective! sorry we did not get to meet that night- hope to meet you soon.

  8.  RachelWells |

    Roberta, lovely post. Couldn’t have said it any better myself. Bravo.

  9.  Roberta |

    Thanks so much for the kind words Marcy and Rachel. And yes, hope to meet you soon.