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Travel Diary: Hotel Designer Philippe Starck

Sarah Maingot

Photo: Sarah Maingot

Easy Riding: I used to take my bike from Paris to Barcelona all the time and make other trips like that, but I don't have time to ride my motorcycles anymore. I must start doing that again.

Hotel Perks: All the good Italian hotels have nice linens, especially the Villa Cipriani in Asolo, near Venice. The fabrics are very heavy and old. The best service is always in Asia. I especially love the Peninsula in Hong Kong, and the Park Hyatt Tokyo. And, of course, Amandari on Bali.

Home Sweet Homes: When I'm in the city, in any city, it's a day of too many meetings and too many interviews. So, the perfect day for me is at my oyster farm in the southwest of France, or my house in Venice, or my house on Formentera near Ibiza, or on my boat. Not one of these places has a telephone or electricity or running water. My houses are mainly love shacks, very secret. I'm happy in these places because I can work there in privacy.

OPH (Other People's Hotels): I love the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Also a very, very small hotel in Zanzibar, but I don't know the name. There's a little hotel in Venice, and another in Lago Maggiore in Italy, but I'll never give out the names of them. I'm also happy with my own hotels: the Delano, the Mondrian, the Hudson, and especially the Sanderson in London. That's the best for me.

The Nature Of Design: There is no research when I create a hotel. I can be anywhere in the world, as long as I am alone. I put myself in front of anything—the sea, the backyard, a garbage dump—and I lock myself up for as long as I need to design, usually between one and three days. I go to bed and I sleep until I see it all clearly in my head. Then I wake up and design everything very fast, while the ideas are fresh. I wait for my subconscious to deliver the image; I am just the printer.

The Future Of Travel: Frankly, I believe in completely the reverse of what everybody else is thinking. I believe that our civilization will not continue to move bodies. We will move ourselves less and less, because the whole world is becoming the same. The way our generation and our civilization move our bodies and transport materials is an accident. I think the future will be about mental traveling, not physical traveling. That is why I will never buy stock in an airplane company.

My Sacred Spot:
I never, ever travel for pleasure, because I hate traveling. I travel only when I have to work. I go only where I have to go. I shall never spend one hour of my life or one dollar of my money to go to some faraway place for pleasure. I don't understand people who fly 12 hours to go on holiday. I prefer to go to my oyster farm in France. I have a 200-square-foot love shack painted all black, sitting on an ocean of gray mud where 200 million oysters live. That is my favorite place.

An Ideal Workday Starts With . . .
waking up at 6 a.m., choosing one of my 300 MP3's, plugging in my headphones, and dreaming all day. At 7 p.m., I take off my headphones, plug in the speakers, open a bottle of champagne, and dance with my wife.


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