High technology, housing comfort, design and energy efficiency. They sound incompatible, especially when referring to houses. But after years of intensive technological development, the French designer Philippe Starck and the Slovenian company Riko have proved that anything is possible.


Since last October, their first residential building, dubbed the P.A.T.H. house, has stood in the village of Montfort l'Amaury, near Paris. Prefabricated Accessible Technological Homes, part of a line of top design, sustainable turnkey buildings – Starck with Riko. P. A.T. H. combines ecotechnological systems, such as photovoltaics, wind turbines, systems for the efficient use of rainwater, and heating and cooling systems, which make sure that the houses generate more energy than they consume (making them energyplus houses), with design undersigned by Philippe Starck, and the full functionality of a proper luxury home. Naturally, none of this reduces the standard of comfort. One would think that the target market for such a home are people with a greater level of environmental awareness but, this time, the designer has applied a high level of personalization, to tempt more demanding buyers who, in addition to the environment, consider the visual connection of the interior to the exterior to be of paramount importance.

Just What You Need

For Starck to come close to the desires, living conditions and needs of the buyers, the future owners of the ecotechnological prefabricated houses were provided with 34 floor plans, ranging in size between 140 to 350 square meters, with between one and eight rooms. They offered four family homes, two-storey houses, one one-storey house, and a series of units which may be supplemented and adjusted according to the buyer's needs: they can turn into an office, a guest room, a garden studio, a garage, or something else entirely. Starck also provided for a wide range of structural systems. The wooden structure is for people who favor wood, while if solar efficiency and a view are your priorities, a version is available with large glass surfaces, which make it look airy and spacious. Privacy is guaranteed, even in the case of the glass version: remote controlled Venetian blinds are installed between the layers of glass, which prevent curious people from gazing inside. A combination of wooden walls and a glass façade is also available, which means that the houses can be located in various natural environments and cultural landscapes.

Adaptability of Interior Design

Starck and Riko have provided for great adaptability of the interior, without pushy architectural or technical solutions that might put buyers off. Thus consumers are free to select any type of flooring, bathroom and kitchen tiles, interior doors and bathroom equipment, naturally within the range of choices preselected and included by the French designer in his equipment catalogue. "We wish people to see the future in our houses. The P. A. T. H. house is a balance between the environment, energy efficiency, state of the art technology, design and price. It is a reliable and intelligent solution for us, for our children and our children's children, who will be facing the challenges of the environment, energy and economy," said Starck, on his house for all generations, pointing out the timing and financial advantages.

No Financial Surprises

If you build your own house, it is frequently not clear until the end just how long it will take and what the costs will be. Purchasing a turnkey house eliminates such uncertainty, and the P. A.T. H. is no exception – there are no financial surprises. "By combining our engineering know-how and stateoftheart prefabrication technology, we have created a modern living solution affordable for all people who appreciate the symbiosis of the environment and aesthetics," says Janez Škrabec, the director of Riko. Their innovative construction process, which was designed after years of intensive cooperation with Starck, guarantees that it takes no more than six months from the moment you place an order to the delivery of the home to you. They also provide accurate supervision of costs. What about the price? The price ranges between 2.500 and 4500 euros per square meter, but the final amount is exactly the same as that calculated for the buyer upon placing the order. If the amount seems too high, don't forget that this purchase will enable you to provide longterm benefits for you, the environment and, last but not least, for future generations.

Philippe Starck

Starck is among the most famous, influential and versatile designers in the world. He is known for his immense love of pushing the boundaries and criteria of modern design. In three decades, he has designed more than ten-thousand products, from a toothbrush and lemon squeezers to a yacht, electric vehicles and hotels. Starck has cooperated with around 140 companies.

July 25, 2015 Living photo: Riko

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