‘Thank you very much — I am dead now,
I feel so free!’

These were the humorous words spoken by Philippe Starck in his acceptance speech for a Lifetime Achievement Award at The Design Prize 2019 for his outstanding body of work, further consolidating his reputation as the world’s greatest living designer.

This prestigious accolade follows the IDF Lifetime Achievement Award that was presented to Starck in Colombo last October when he was in town to celebrate the launch of Sapphire Residences. Starck was the mastermind behind the spectacular interior design of the luxury designer apartments at Sapphire Residences.

Image of Philippe Stark receiving an award
Philippe Starck accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award at The Design Prize 2019 © designboom

Curated by Designboom, The Design Prize is the international award dedicated to project culture, which is also a virtuous expression of co-planning based on the efficient use of resources for the construction of a sustainable future. The celebrated French designer was handed the golden Madonnina by Stefano Boeri, president of the Triennale Milano, during a ceremony that saw an impressive roster of creative luminaries united on the roof of the Duomo in Florence, for his creativity in bringing life to luxury designer apartments. 

Accepting the award, Starck addressed the audience with his characteristic passion and wit: “A lot of people ask me why I work so much, why I work all the time night and day. There’s only one reason: I was born with a sickness and that sickness is that I never feel alive. All my life I’ve had a doubt on my life, that’s why I try to exist so much. But now you give me this end of life achievement and for the first time there’s something which is true; I am dead! Thank you very much!”

'Culture' style interior, one of four distinctive themes designed by YOO Inspired by Starck
"Culture" style interior, one of four distinctive themes designed by YOO Inspired by Starckm

Always focused on his vision, Starck firmly believes that creation — whatever form it takes — must improve the lives of as many people as possible. This philosophy has made him one of the pioneers and central figures of the concept of ‘democratic design’.

For the designs for Sapphire Residences, Starck and his team at YOO Inspired by Starck drew inspiration from the island culture and the serendipitous nature of Sri Lanka. Commenting on his inspiration for this project, he said, “YOO projects, and Sapphire Residences in particular, are about YOU! I wanted to create a place that draws people together, that makes them laugh, make them more in love, more sparkling, more intelligent. I wanted to create fertile surprises to awaken people, to create conversations, to create interactions. A place where we, humans, are at its heart.”

Philippe Starck and YOO’s John Hitchcox with WelcomHotels Lanka’s Arun Pathak, Subi George and Abhinav Pincha at the Sapphire Residences Experience Centre
Philippe Starck and YOO’s John Hitchcox with WelcomHotels Lanka’s Arun Pathak, Subi George and Abhinav Pincha at the Sapphire Residences Experience Centree

“To turn our vision for Sapphire Residences into reality, it was necessary to assemble a first-class team of globally renowned architects, designers and engineers,” adds Arun Pathak, Managing Director of the development company WelcomeHotels Lanka. “This latest award to Philippe Starck further endorses our commitment to working with the best in the world to deliver a landmark for the City of Colombo. We are proud to have the world’s greatest living designer in our team.”

Designboom is the world’s most popular digital architecture and design magazine. Based in Milan, Beijing and New York, it has 3.5 million readers.

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