XO. An old cognac? "Kisses and hugs"? No. Look again. Don’t try to apply a known pattern. It’s a cross and a circle. lf you like rebus, you can even read it "Cross the line”. See? Now it's obvious. That's what design is all about: a new look on things. Putting together forms that do not seem to go along naturally and see that, in fact, they do. Like a cross and a circle. Simple, graphic – and yet unexpected.
Back in 1984, Philippe Starck is raising to stardom; Gérard Mialet’s spirits are high. Together, they cross the line and decide to create a new design house. It will be XO. To quote Starck, “To make a beautiful baby, parents have to be in love”. XO is definitely a love affair. Gérard Mialet fondly recalls the pioneering days. There was so much fun, everything was possible. Ray Hollis, Dr. Sonderbar and Dole Melipone are the heroes on which Starck and Mialet, the thaumaturdes of design, built the XO legend.
In 1996, XO takes another bold step: industrial production. Gérard Mialet launches Starcks Bubu 1er. Bubu is an injected polypropylene stool. It is also a huge commercial success. And a crown put upside down. A symbol of democratisation?
XO masters the lexicon of time-honoured wood joiners but also confidently speaks several other languages; from the technical lingo of mould-makers and plastic injectors to the vernacular of ceramists and metal alchemists. This kaleidoscopic vision of its business and Starck’s unwavering support are the two principal components of XO’s success.
Literally, XO has crossed frontiers. To XO, design is no longer reserved to a European elite. New countries, new distribution channels, new terms on the ground, XO takes full advantage of the benefits of globalisation.
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