Why the Louis Ghost Chair matters
Philippe Starck’s spectral update of an 18thC classic is both antique and modern (and her majesty approves)
An elegant, Louis XV chair might have been the height of European sophistication in the early eighteenth century, yet by the turn of the twenty-first century, these easily reproduced rococo items were nothing short of chintzy.
However, the French designer Philippe Starck understood how he could enliven a three-hundred-year old design by applying a little latter-day European craftsmanship.
“When Starck set out to reinterpret the classic Louis XV armchair, his collaboration with Kartell, known for its innovative use of plastics, rendered a ground-breaking design that quickly became an icon,” explains our new book, Chair: 500 Designs that Matter. “Manufactured as a single piece of transparent moulded polycarbonate, the Louis Ghost Chair is light where its archetype is heavy. The design recycles the classic form in a versatile seat that can be used outdoors as well as indoors.”
Unlike much eighteenth century furniture, the Louis Ghost Chair can be stacked six high, and stored in fairly poor conditions without any degrading.
Its spectral form has both contemporary and antique qualities, making it a great modern addition to a beautiful, old room. When the Queen came to London Fashion Week earlier this month she sat on a Louis Ghost chair, while guests at Anna Dello Russo’s fashion week party, held in an ornate palazzo in the centre of Milan, were seated on Kartel's armless-model, the Victoria Ghost Chair, for dinner.
Indeed, so successful was Starck’s design that the Milanese company has since created an entire Ghost family, including "One More, One More Please, a clear, armless counter stool with either an oval or square back; the Charles Ghost Stool, a transparent, backless stool; and a version of the original Louis Ghost Chair for children, Lou Lou,” explain the editors of Chair.