Kartell recreates pink Philippe Starck-designed chairs to seat both humans and Barbies

Kartell has collaborated with toymaker Mattel to transform five of its chairs into two hot-pink versions, one to fit real people and one for Barbies, which were shown at Milan design week.

Kartell and Mattel Creations – the collector arm of Mattel – worked together to recreate five chairs originally designed for Kartell by architect and designer Philippe Starck.

Barbie-sized pink chairsBarbie-sized pink chairs
The collaboration includes Barbie-sized versions of iconic Kartell chairs by Philippe Starck. From left to right: Eros, Masters, Louis Ghost, Venice and AI.

Each chair was made in its original proportions as well as in a version scaled to doll-size to mark 65 years of Barbie, the toy invented by Ruth Handler in 1959.

All of the furniture was coloured in Pantone 219 C, the recognisable Barbie Pink hue, and was made from recycled plastic, according to Kartell.

Barbie-sized AI chairBarbie-sized AI chair
Philippe Starck’s AI chair forms part of the project

Among the line-up is Starck’s AI model – the first of Kartell’s chairs to be designed using artificial intelligence.

Louis Ghost also features in the collection. A stackable chair with a round backrest, the transparent furniture is characterised by a Barbie Dreamhouse-style design.

“Its sleek silhouette and pink finish evoke a sense of whimsy and nostalgia,” said Kartell.

Barbie-sized Eros chairBarbie-sized Eros chair
The Eros swivel chair also features in the collection

The Venice model, a dining chair with classic lines, was also recreated for the project. Masters, another dining seat with smooth and curved shapes, and Starck’s egg-shaped Eros swivel chair are the fourth and fifth additions to the collection.

Slim, rectilinear recycled-paper packaging was designed for the Barbie-sized creations.

Kartell explained that the project straddles the intersection “where toys become art, and art becomes toys.

The collection was unveiled within a single room at the Salone del Mobile tradeshow during Milan design week as part of media group Condé Nast’s Vogue Closet exhibition.

Recycled paper packaging for tiny chairsRecycled paper packaging for tiny chairs
Kartell and Mattel designed recycled paper packaging for the tiny chairs

Last year, Barbie made global headlines following the live-action film about the toy doll. Before the film’s release, rental website Airbnb listed a real-life version of Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse in California, making it available to book for a holiday.

Milan design week concluded on Sunday. The annual event featured other furniture projects ranging from IKEA’s first inflatable gaming chair to pillowy lamps and daybeds by Faye Toogood.

The photography is courtesy of Kartell and Mattel. 

Barbie x Kartell was on display at Salone del Mobile from 16 to 21 April 2024. See our Milan design week 2024 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.

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