'Masters': Philippe Starck's tribute to 3 design greats

A chair with references to 3 famous seats of the twentieth century signed by Arne Jacobsen, Eero Saarinen, and Charles Eames.

Philippe Starck (Paris, 1949) is one of the best known (and recognized) contemporary designers. He is an architect, interior designer, and versatile designer who, in his projects, fuses the industrial and the organic with the grace and irony of his French roots. If we focus on his facet of industrial design, it is challenging to stay with only one of his products, furniture or lamps. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the Masters' chair: a contemporary piece that is a tribute to three icons in the history of design. Launched in 2009 by Italian firm Kartell and conceived in collaboration with designer Eugeni Quitllet, the Masters's chair is a tribute to three design greats. The piece reinterprets three icons: Arne Jacobsen's Series 7 chair, Eero Saarinen's Tulip armchair, and Charles Eames' Eiffel chair. This is how Starck himself describes it: "We were not born today. There have been many masters before us. The Master's chair evokes the lines of three masterpieces. The union of the three generates a new product that reflects our current society". It is easy to identify the structure and legs of the Eiffel chair, the curved, organic lines of Series 7, and the futuristic style of the Tulip.

In the image, we see it next to other design classics, such as the Panton chair, designed in the 1960s by Verner Panton, or the Chair One, created in 2003 by Konstantin Grcic for Magis. All the pieces are in black, contrasting with the white of the walls and the wooden table. The versatile and organic design of the Masters adapts to any environment. The Masters is made of polypropylene with a matte finish, a solid and durable plastic material that Philippe Starck uses in many of his designs. It has four slender legs and a wide, comfortable seat. The backrest provides the chair's personality, made of three tubular pieces that intertwine to create an organic shape. It has an elegant and simple design that has managed to combine the lines of the three icons to which it pays homage.

Since its first edition in 2009, in which Kartell released only the versions in white, black, mustard, and rust orange, other models of the Masters have been edited in gray and sage green. As a novelty, it has recently been presented with gold, chrome, and shiny copper finishes, making it a jewel. The Masters is an essentially versatile chair beyond its aesthetics. Thanks to its seat and backrest, it can be used both in the dining room and in a study, bringing comfort and personality to any space. Because of its material - polypropylene is a resistant, durable, and easy to clean plastic - it can be used both indoors and outdoors. It is also a stackable and light chair, weighing only 4 kilos.

In 2011, Philippe Starck designed the stool version, Masters Stool, also published by Kartell. It has the same silhouette and lines as the chair but a minor back and seat and a taller