Philippe Starck: Why design?

Eighteen minutes well spent. Dare we call it good theology?

See also.

PS. I sent Philippe my brief Panflick Fantasy regarding human settlements of the future. Someone has to build the model and his site has a means for submitting project ideas. Vive la Web!


UPDATE: Never got a
response. Too bad.
The man can draw
and has a mind.



Stephen C. Rose Home Most Popular Pages

philippe starck


Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language

Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language — The Entire Book Digested Online in Nested Form READ IT HERE

Pattern Language Main Page on this site GO

christopher alexander
human settlements
pattern language


Panflick’s Very Own Pattern Language (The Present)

By Stephen C. Rose

This is among my current Panflick works in progress. On a subject dear to my heart. I have the image of the community of the future in my mind. This seeks to roll it out a bit. Probably a century off. If anyone is interested in this or any other Panflick works, please contact steverose at

Adam Panflick builds a cell of ecumenopolis. His dying bequest to a world that paid him scant mind. He is not dying, but this is his last big thing. No more bully wars or direct assaults on automobiles. Or inquiries into addiction. Now he is rolling in money. He got it gambling. He hit Megabucks in the nether reaches of Clark County. At the Hacienda, formerly the Gold Strike. He invested in something he saw in the New York Times. Diabetics inhale insulin. Happily. Market responds.

Adam became a billionaire compounding. Step, step, step. Einstein said compounding was the biggest thing of all. it is, if you can get it.

Adam has no interest now in gambling. Or investing. He is up there with the big boys. The vision rules. He is he. Always has been. Always will be. Not his body, Not his mind. Not his feelings. Just he, a chip off the old I and I. Knowing little. Sans illusions.

Come with Panflick to his not-so-secret site, a few miles West of Caliente, Nevada. Workers have completed the underground parts of his prototype cell. Not a tiny unit of the human body. Not a place of imprisonment. The dream of an Athens city planner, a visionary now deceased. Adam expands on his work. Stirs in some pattern language. The cell he wanted was approximately three times the size of the Coliseum.

He thought:

Human settlements are impossible built entirely vertically, as in big cities. They are eminently stupid if allowed to unfold over the landscape in horrendous cookie-homes, following the sage Frank Lloyd Wright’s decision to build such automotive hells in the first place — complete with veggie gardens no one would ever plant.

The Panflick Cell is the answer.

Underground, at Panflick Ranch, west of Caliente, off limits to all but his construction crew, aided by various scientists, engineers and aesthetes, Adam has seen to the problem of reprocessing all of the shit and other offal that would be generated once his cell was completed. Once some 5,000 to 10,000 are happily installed in Pueblo style dwellings forming a gentle spiral around the five-level interior. Aerobics for the superannuated and their great-grandchildren.

The mechanism for this recycling operation is complex but boils down to a Three Bears porridge operation in the nether regions. Organics including paper, plastics and metals. The contents of the bowls are transported to giant regional recycling centers. Organic slurry goes to the giant regional greenhouses.

“Does it work now?” Adam said.

“Yeah, chief,” said Pardo, the foreman.

“OK, the next lower level is the crawlspace.” Crawlspace is the watchword throughout the project. Eighteen inches with vents a plenty.

“Easy. What else?”


“Correct, a doughnut. The world’s largest inner tube with a retractable opening at the top.”

Julie the Genius walked up.

“I put seating in, including lie-down areas. Kiosks every ten dwellings or so, tables and seats. Alexander would like it.”

Panflick inspected the drawing. “Good, not uniform, funky. Capital.”

The whole thing was laughably simple. Everything that could not be used would be hauled off to giant plants for profitable recycling. Pneumatic tubes would eventually replace trucks. All the cheap spaces would become the new spaces because there was little or nothing there. The old metro areas would gradually self-destruct, or on the case of Las Vegas, implode.

This Coliseum would have some 600-12,00 Pueblo-type dwellings gently spiraling down from the fifth to the first level. Everyone would have a front entrance and a recessed back deck, facing outward, similar to what’s on ocean liners.

Larger units would widen behind smaller units. Eventually, though not quite yet, these would become “lego” units. One could order up ones room in any cell.

“Need to zap cell language,” Panflick muttered. “We’re building freedom, at least I hope so.”

The interior would have no vehicles. Pedestrian paradise.

Adam was amazed. Even the Las Vegas Sun was silent. No press yet from anywhere. Here was the way to a future beyond metro-sprawl and automobile tyranny, a viable model for communities with a remote chance at harmony and happiness. Adam was biting off eco-dilemmas in large enough chunks to have big impact. Inhabitants of existing burbs, now occupying 100 square miles, would be living in one-tenth the area with public space as attractive as the walkways and piazzas of Anacapri. Minus cars.

All the crap they created would generate profit. Public space would generate happiness instead of angst.

Several months later, Adam made rain. The goddamned drops hit like pay dirt.

Adam and Julie the Genius became a couple.

She’s gorgeous, about 40 years younger than Adam. The press issue is resolved. The Las Vegas Sun did a cradle robber story. Adam’s project is becoming well known. He is now the Batty Billionaire.

The story reads:

“Living hand to mouth, ten miles west of Caliente, the Batty Billionaire is pouring every last cent of casino and stock market winnings into what he says is the prototype of dwelling units that will form the cities of the future.

“He is serious.”

C. A. Doxiadis

Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language — The Entire Book Digested Online in Nested Form READ IT HERE

Pattern Language Main Page on this site GO

christopher alexander
human settlements
pattern language


PS to More on Ken Wilber (Jessica Yu’s Protagonist)

The 2007 Jessica Yu documentary Protagonist is an excellent footnote to this discussion. It deals with the quest for certainty and attendant problems. If you have Netflix you can watch it online.

jessica yu

PPS: More reviews of recent documentaries.