The designs of Philippe Starck

love-opera-victoria-baker“It is important to inject love into the place where you live. It is not healthy to rent an interior designer to create a home for you because it’s not good to live in another person’s fantasy.”

Those are the words of Philippe Starck, one of the greatest designers of our time.

After dropping-out of school Philippe Starck jump-started his career by designing two nightclub interiors in Paris in the 1970’s. The success of the clubs won the attention of President Francois Mitterand, who asked Starck to refurbish one of the private apartments in the Elysee Palace.

Two years later, Starck designed the interior of the Café Costes; a notoriously trendy spot in Paris and was on his way to becoming a design celebrity. In quick succession, he created elegant interiors for the Delano in Miami and the Mondrian in Los Angeles. Starck’s approach to design is subversive, intelligent and always interesting. His objects surprise and delight even as they transgress boundaries and subvert expectations.

I first came into contact with Starck’s work at the Viceroy Miami Hotel’s Spa. As soon as you walk into the place the imprint of its creator is everywhere and leaves no doubt as to his genius. Using oversize mirrors, brightly colored crystal chandeliers, and French furniture he has transformed this 28,000-square-foot space into the ultimate spa fantasy.

The double-height, library-like acqua lounge with its plunge pools of various temperatures and floor-to-ceiling views of Biscayne Bay, is breathtaking to say the least.

I was only there for 30 minutes but my short visit left a lasting impression. It was dawn and the oversize windows displayed the morning sky and its natural kaleidoscope of colors to perfection. The views of Biscayne Bay were surreal, the white marble soothing and the oversize yellow crystal chandelier gives the space an air of whimsy difficult to describe. It was luxurious beyond words and still completely in harmony with nature.

Of course, the beauty of the hotel extends beyond just the reach of the Spa. Outdoor pools seem to extend to infinity encompassing vistas where the sky is in a constant embrace with the sea. Just a few moments at the Viceroy Miami makes one feel that life is a glamorous party that we’ve been missing out on.

French poet Baudelaire, in his poem “l’Invitation au Voyage” found words that best encapsulate the unique beauty of a place like the Viceroy Miami. And since Baudelaire said it better than I ever could, I’ll ride his coattails and share a few words from his most famous poem: “La tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté, luxe, calme et volupté.” Which translates: Here all is order and beauty, luxury, serenity and sensuality. My thoughts exactly.


Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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