Design Icon

Design Icon: Philippe Starck’s Juicy Salif

by Maxwell Tielman

Design*Sponge | Design Icon: Juicy Salif Lemon Juicer

Design: Juicy Salif Lemon Juicer

Designer: Philippe Starck (French, b. 1949)

Date: 1988

Country of Origin: Italy

Manufacturer: Alessi

Materials: aluminum and polyamide

Background: The Juicy Salif lemon juicer is not just one of French designer Philippe Starck’s most well-known designs, it is also one of his most polarizing. A true piece of Postmodernism through and through, the juicer is the antithetical opposite of the Modernist dictum, “form follows function.” Although the piece was designed to juice lemons (its original squid-like conception scrawled onto a napkin at an Italian cafe, as design lore has it), its detractors are quick to note that it hardly serves its purpose, spraying acidic juice everywhere and leaving a mess on the countertop. What the object lacks in functionality, however, it makes up for in beauty and humorous panache, providing tongue-in-cheek commentary about design, form and decoration.

Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg

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  • My husband is a industrial designer and we were given one of these for our wedding. I would say yes this is a icon of bad design! I have since bought a vintage glass lemon squeezer and it is 100 times better. It never skids across the counter and splits juice everywhere. I do however think this was the product that propelled Starck into the mainstream.

  • Ha! I was just using mine before I came to your site today. I love this juicer and I was just telling my husband again how much. This is why. It’s on the shelf, cos it’s pretty and you pick up one piece and ream a couple of lemons (using your body weight to do it quickly, because it’s height helps you do that) with it and then rinse it off and put it back on the shelf. Sure you might get a little juice on the counter and you use a spoon to pick out the seeds but those multiple piece juicers get lost in a cupboard and the ones with the strainers are so impossible to keep clean. gah. Nope. I love this thing.

  • I love the design/style icon pieces, short and sweet, they fulfill my need to categorize and collect facts! Got to love a controversial lemon juicer.

  • I’ve always loved this design. I remember seeing it as a child and just staring at it; I was fascinated. It’s transfixing.

  • I used to think it was not practical at all and kind of fancy but now I have one (my fiancé’s) and I use it all the time. Press. Rinse. And that’s all!
    I also love its shape, like a friendly alien spider.

  • I was mesmerized when I saw this first. I thought it wasa1950’sspaceship and since then I’ve bought a stark 3 bathroom suite, some outdoor furniture but still want one of these.

  • I found a lamp base that has a very similar design to the squeezer but shorter and wider. Any thoughts on who may have manufacture it?