Mary Candace Evans On The Return Of Philippe Starck And More

Philippe Starck returns and the latest in Dallas’ design and architecture industry.

Starck Is Back
The world-famous designer is back in Dallas, putting his signature touch on the Victory project. Here’s what you won’t read in the press release.

The announcement was made in June: The most prolific designer of our time is putting his touch on Dallas once again. Victory Park has hired Philippe Starck and his London business partner, John Hitchcox, to design The House, an $80 million, 26-story, 150-unit residential tower. The average unit selling price is $500,000. Starck will collaborate on the plans, and his design firm, Yoo, will design the interior – lobbies, public spaces, and for some lucky owners, Starck will even consult privately. Elkus Manfredi is designing the exterior.

“Expect something you have never seen before in Dallas,” Starck says.

The last time Starck was in Dallas, it was 1984, and he was designing a West End club bearing his name. “It was the Wild West here back then, and downtown was a ghost city,” he says.

Other than that, Starck is oddly silent about the club, which was his first club design.

He remembers two things, however, about Dallas: Taking his family to (then) Wet ’n Wild and the incredible margaritas. “The biggest decision of the day was where we would be drinking our margaritas that night,” he says.

Stark met his third wife in Dallas: “We saw each other at one point, maybe it was at the laundry. It was an instant connection, we both felt it, and it happened in Dallas.”

Twenty-plus years later, Starck says Dallas has evolved into a more sophisticated and genteel city than the one he left. He calls it the center of America and is delighted about the continued development of downtown.

Starck once said his dream was to improve the world – now he’ll settle for the elegance of intelligence and the beauty of happiness. During the disco fever of the ’70s, he became known for his innovative nightclub designs in Paris – La Main Bleue and Les Bains Douches. In 1982, French President Francois Mitterand selected Starck to refurbish one of the private apartments in the Elysee Palace. With his playful and gutsy designs, he began to create elegant hotel interiors, and then he moved on to product design, including chairs, lamps, motorbikes, boats, door handles, commodes, beds, desks, utilitarian house wares, even toothbrushes. His touch was everywhere, at all income levels, from the Elysee to the Delano Hotel in Miami to toasters and juicers in the kitchens of Middle America. Stark isn’t stopping there; he’s marketing his name, too, with the opening of Starck retail shops that will sell his entire collection.

As for his dreams, Starck yearns to stay put at one of the 20 homes he owns around the globe. All are secluded, and each is designed in his signature minimalist style. Most have no electricity and no running water.

“You can go there, and it is absolutely quiet,” he says. “When I am there, I can hear my mind. I’m not a designer; I’m a movie director of energy. What I do is create imagination, an experience – like God.”

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A Forrest of Luxury

Deborah Forrest has her mind on fabrics these days – an exclusive ForrestPerkins (www.forrestperkins.com) collection for Kravet. The Dallas- and Washington, D.C.-based design and architectural services firm renown for updating five star luxury and landmark hotels just launched Defining Luxury by ForrestPerkins Collection. Designs include two large-scale Art Moderne motifs with accompanying smaller patterns and textures. “My inspiration came from what was always missing in the marketplace – colors and patterns I could never find when I was seeking fabrics,” Forrest says. She will undoubtedly use some of these fabrics in her current projects including the Stoneleigh Hotel and Residences, the 1,000-room J.W. Marriot resort in the Hill Country (with two PGA Golf courses), and the historic Union Station Hotel in Nashville, operated by Wyndham.

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CREATIVE BRIEFS

NOW OPEN: The new Ellouise Abbott Showrooms recently opened in the new Design Center on Turtle Creek Boulevard. Word is that Betsie Weatherford needs all that space next door to Allan Knight for Fortuny, Greystone, and the Minton-Corley Collection. Think beautiful iron furniture with travertine and carved wood, all from Italy.

STAR STUDDED LAMPS: Carlin & Co. now carries lighting by LA-based Kathleen Caid—period antique lamps and vintage fabrics for lampshades devoured by stars such as Cher, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, Antonio Banderas, and Steve Martin. Carlin has also added Century Furniture product lines to its furniture, accessories, and lighting products. Speaking of sparkle, Billy Miller, formerly of Kravet Fabrics, has joined Carlin & Co. in sales.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Harriett Adams of Harriett Adams Interior Design does most of her design work in Dallas and Houston, but last fall she was raising money to light up the sky of her hometown, Ennis. Adams chaired the Catch the Vision for the Lights of Ennis dinner, dance, and auction at her historic Ennis home. Local power couples and interior designers from Dallas (all in full costume), including the Loyd Taylor as Elvis and Ennis town mayor Russell Thomas as Picasso were present.

CONGRATS: Bill Booziotis, FAIA, and his Bluffview gallery/guesthouse for Marguerite and Robert Hoffman was featured in the October 2005 issue of Architectural Digest. John Phifer Marrs, A.S.I.D., was also featured in the issue for his work on the Preston Road mansion with one of the most magnificent libraries in the country.

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