Karim Rashid by Pavlina Penlidi

Background History

One of the most prolific industrial designers of the 21st century, born in Cairo, 1960 with a bachelor from Carelton University in 1982 and then completed his studies in Italy where he got inspired for his future work. His product line ranges from everyday products, to installations, fashion, art and music. Having designed a lot of interiors for hotels, restaurants and houses including the “Semiramis hotel”, in Athens and the “Morimoto restaurant” in Philadelphia[1] he has achieved to create a very characteristic profile as a designer. His work is featured in more than 20 art galleries around the globe and he has received several awards for his designs like the ubiquitous Garbo waste can and the Oh Chair for Umbra, also from the I.D magazine and Good Design award, to name a few. As a result, he is now recognized as a versatile and very passionate designer whose work touches every aspect of our physical landscape.


Working process

Karim R ashid has expanded his work to a countless mass produced items as mentioned previously. He is an industrial designer who works with the culture of the company and then  produces his work by creating functional ideas in recyclable and modern materials. Currently he is particularly engaged with laminate (plastic), which is an extremely durable and sustainable material that is high performing, democratic and can be used in various different ways as they are seen in his work. Due to technology, plastic has enabled him to create more interesting and extreme decorations. One of the basic examples of his work with this material is “The Digitalia Collection” that has been designed by Karim Rashid for Abet Laminati[2]. It is a new collection of 28 digitally printed decorations of high-pressure laminate. It is a very inviting and comfortable space made from ceramic, plastic and glass. Another really important aspect of Karim’s work is the way he uses color.

The various colors he has used in different combinations together with the engagement of technology in his work, is probably what characterizes his work. He loves colour, “Colour for the eye, is what taste is for the mouth” [3]as he said in one of his  interviews and he believes that we should celebrate color since it is an amazing quality we have as human beings.

Another project he was en gaged with rec e ntly is, the sustainable housing concept, which he designed in collaboration with Dupont Corian and they presented it in Milan design week 2010. It is a home that is decorated with organic shapes and undulating walls. Karim used recycled materials and also he didn’t miss to p ut colors in all of his designs. The space around you is not just about to create furniture with high end design, he believes as it is evident also from his latest project that it is more about the whole physical experience that make your living easier. This is done by having for example automated things in the house that make your, to have no sharp corners anywhere or  a house that hinders and creates obstacles.

Milan design week 2010- By karim rashid: smart-ologic Corian® living

Milan design week wardrobe by Karim Rashid

Milan design week 2010-  The bedroom bykarim rashid: smart-ologic  by Corian living Milan design week by karim rashid

Methods and Goals

“I have about 40 projects going, so I manage to get to each project every other day. The projects cross over so much. One minute we’re working on a lamp, and suddenly I realize the concept is perfect for the hallways of a hotel in Germany”[4]. As it is evident from his work, Karim Rashid is identified as a high-profile industrial designer who has gained a very esteemed reputation for communicating a contemporary view of the world through its unique designs. He is trying to make design a big part of the social discourse in peoples’ lives and through his works and  he successfully managed to spread this message to all of his clients so far. He believes that design is a “full time profession” however he doesn’t need inspiration from other designers because when you create something new you don’t follow trends. Finally, he uses organic and sensual lines in his work and he works on his sketchbook on a daily basis.


[1] “Semiramis Hotel” Athens, available from: http://www.splendia.com/en/hotel/?hotel_id=30677&cpse=google&gclid=CO3lt4bsvqECFRBk4wodmTAQAW accessed 7 April 2010

[2] “The digitalia collection”, available from: http://www.abet.ch/blog/?tag=kasa-digitalia&lang=en accessed 8 April 2010

[3] “Interview of Karim Rashid with Icon magazine”, available from: http://www.iconeye.com/index.php?option =com_content&view=article&id=2350:karim-rashid–icon-005–september-2003 accessed 8 April 2010

[4] “A Revealing Look at Karim Rashid’s Design Process”, available from: http://www.residentiallighting.com/A-Revealing-Look-at-Karim-Rashid%E2%80%99s-Design-Process-article10832 accessed 7 April 2010

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