Designer Philippe Starck Embraces his Feminine Side [exclusive video]

Philippe Starck, resplendent in black leather pants, came to New York’s Soho House this week to promote his latest project –- a set of sleek stereo speakers he designed for Parrot, a French wireless technology company whose CEO, Henri Seydoux, is one of the designer’s oldest friends.

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The Zikmu speakers , matching black columns with flared bases, were introduced at MacWorld, then dazzled the crowd at CES, walking away with Bluetooth CIG’s “Best of Show” award.

The technology behind the speakers is first rate –- they’re topped with an iPod loading dock, and can wirelessly stream music from a PC or Mac.  But it’s the neck-snappingly cool design (not to mention great sound)  that creates product lust. The $1500 speakers, available later this spring, are striking for their simplicity, functionality, and beauty.

Any consumer can appreciate those qualities, but a recent presentation at CES by a pair of designers from Smart Design’s Femme Den, indicated that those traits resonate particularly well with women –- traditionally a tricky market for consumer electronics manufacturers to reach.

We spoke with Starck about why designing for men is like boxing, and designing for women is like aikido – and why simple, intuitive design is just so damned hard.