The One about the Golden Obelisk in Odaiba, designed by Phillipe Starck

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French designer Philippe Starck is well-known for his interior, architectural, industrial and product design.

Starck studied at the Ecole Camondo in Paris and he created an inflatable structure in 1969 that questioned materiality and would bring him to the attention of Pierre Cardin who offered him a job as an artistic director of his publishing house.

From his creations such as Cafe Costes, Mama Shelter in Marseille, France, his Volteis electric car, his Kartell Tic Tac Wall Clock and more, Starck’s creations were not just limited to France.

He designed buildings in Japan such as the Nani Nani Building  which was built in 1989.  Many people call it ugly but many don’t know that when Starck created the building, he wanted to create a monster and the “nani nani” came from when Japanese would scream “Nanii!” in films.

Another popular building by Starck, is the iconic Asahi Beer Hall, which I have wrote about and called “The Golden Turd”, Starck would say in an interview about the building, “With something like this, either you hate it or you love it, but you must react. The worst thing is not reacting.”

But another popular Starck created structure is “The Golden Obelisk” (Jyun no Honoo) located in Odaiba. The Obelisk is 4 km (13,123 feet) and was built to commemorate the “French Year in Japan” and was a gift from France.

A photo I took of the French Statue of Liberty which was temporarily in loan to Japan at Odaiba back in 1999.

Prior to the creation of the Obelisk, Japan had the French Statue of Liberty as a temporary loan until a replica was created.

I have to be truthful, with it being so close to the Mobile Suit Gundam statue, I thought it was some reference to a weapon of some sort.

Yet, it’s one of the more unique works of art one can find throughout Odaiba and another building showcasing Japan’s love for the work of Philippe Starck.  And if you are in Japan, definitely make sure you catch three of his structures in Odaiba, Asakusa (Asahi Beer Hall) and in Shirokanedai (Nani nani building).



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Dennis A. Amith