Philippe Starck is going back to his injection molded roots this spring, unveiling a new Kartell line that pushes the technology to new limits. The sculptural Aunts and Uncles collection, which launched in Milan this week, is made from an incredibly thin and strong plastic polycarbonate. “It’s timeless,” Starck told Design Boom of the three chairs and two tables. “You’re not buying it for the next six months—you’re buying it for you, your son, and your grandson.”
“Timeless” plastic furniture? Sure, it’s an oxymoron. But Starck has done it before: his last line for Kartell, Ghost, has become so popular as to verge on cliche. With Aunts and Uncles, he’s hoping to imbue the material with a bit of tradition—hence its name. “[It’s] is the minimalist technological version of the armchairs and sofas where my uncles and aunts used to sit smoking their pipes or knitting by the fireplace in total peace and serenity,” he says in a statement. “Times have changed and so has furniture … but our dreams are always the same.”
The ghostly pieces mimic the proportions of traditional armchairs and tables, with a few flourishes. For example, the Uncle Jack chair and Uncle Jim sofa, which have armrests that snake upwards like a sting ray’s wings. The sofa is the most “daring” piece in the collection—it’s over six feet long, with a thinness of only a few millimeters. “A monolithic injected sofa wasn’t possible one year ago,” Starck explains. Then, with characteristic deadpan delivery, he explains why you need a giant plastic sofa: “Because you’re so smart and so charming and you have a lot of friends.” Oh.