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XO. An old cobnac? "Kisses and hugs"? No. Look again. Don't try to apply a known pattern. It's a cross and a circle. If 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 thet do not seem to go along naturally and see thet, in fact, they do. Like a cross and a circle. Simple, graphic - and yet unexpected.

Back in 1984, Philippe Starck is raising to stardom; Gerard Mialet's spirits are high. Togehter, 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.

Gerard Mialet fondly recalls the pioneering days. There was so much fun, everything was possible. Ray Hollis, Dr. Sonderbar and ole Melipone are the heroes on which Starck and Mialet, the thaumaturges of design, built the xO legend.

In 1996, XO takes another bold step: industrial production. Gerard Mialet launches Starck's Bubu 1er. Bubu is an injected polypropylene stool. It is also a huge commercial success. And a crown put upside down. A symbol of democratization?

XO masters the rich 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 amchemists. This kaleidoscopic vision of its buisness and Starck's unwavering support are two principal components of XO's success. And with large production runs, innovative techniques and new ways of selling, XO still cuts the invisible lines defining the design industry.

Literally, XO has crossed frontiers. To XO, design is no longer reserved to a European elite. New countries, new distribution channels, new teams on the ground, XO takes full advantage of the benefits of globalisation. The 21st century XO along with propertydevelopers dreams up places like no others, works hand-in-hand with distributors and retailers in Asia and in the Americas to open exlusive bontigues and corners, and continouously introduces new products designed by the design icons of our times. And keeps crossing lines.

XO is not a cognac label or a written display of afection. Still, it may bring something like the ectasy of a rich alcohol or the comfort of a love message. Maybe. Or just a new look.
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