Photo Gérard Mialet Body

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

Back in 1984, Philippe Starck is raising to stardom; Gérald 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, fondy reccals the pionnering days. There was so much fun, everything was possible. Ray Hollis, Dr. Sonderbar and Dole Mellipone 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 Gérard 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 alchemists. This kaleidoscopic vision of its business and Starck's unwavering support are the 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 an European elite. New countries, new distribution channels, XO takes full advantage of the benefits of globalization. During the 21st century XO will continuously introduce 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 affection. Still, it may bring something like the ecstasy of rich alcohol or the comfort of a love message. Maybe. Or just a new look.