Skip to main content
News / Design / Furniture / Events / “Ubik” and Starck, an uchronian design

“Ubik” and Starck, an uchronian design

The Ketabi Bourdet gallery, specialized in the 80s and 90s, has just presented a retrospective of Philippe Starck’s furniture from this period. This exhibition was an opportunity to rediscover pieces that were almost impossible to find on the market, and to publish a book.

Ketabi Bourdet Gallery, exhibition "Ubik", retrospective Philippe Starck years 80, ed. Paul Bourdet © Studio Shapiro

Associated with the 80s, the success of the protean designer coincides with the death of the novelist Philip Kindred Dick. What they have in common is the utopia of science fiction. One writes them when the other reads them, with a particular preference for “Ubik” which is part of the foundations of SF. The designer baptizes some of his creations with names inspired directly by the novel. Philippe Starck then gives a new dimension to his furniture by personifying it through the prism of the novel. Beyond the names, he gives them actions inspired by Ubik.

Of the thirty-eight pieces with futuristic forms exhibited, four are rarely exhibited. Thus, the Sandy Jeperson lamp with the conical shade, edited by the 3 Suisses in 1985, was sold during one season only. Created in 1982 for XO, the Joe Ship table (with its original top) is rarely presented. Its four detachable steel legs, reminiscent of clamps, were later emulated in the publishing world. Still in 1985 for the 3 Suisses, the Fred Zafsky cabinet in steel sheet, exists in only four known examples to this day. As for the Mrs Frick folding chair, edited by 3 Suisses and Disform, it is difficult to find in its grey version. An exhibition started during Maison in the City, in January, which ends this weekend, and continues with the publication of a dedicated book. If Ubik is now the name of the designer’s studio, we now know its origin.

Cecile Papapietro-Matsuda


Ketabi Bourdet Gallery, UBIK exhibition, retrospective of furniture from the 80s by Philippe Starck. Ed _Paul_Bourdet © Studio Shapiro