"If you take the design what's left?" Karim Rashid
One of the most influential designers of our time, Karim Rashid has created more than 3000 designs, won more than 300 awards and worked in over 40 countries.
Known for his immense love for the color pink, he is also known for being a designer for the general market and the masses and not just for the rich, as most super-designers tend to do.
Karim Rashid (born 1960) is an Egyptian-born industrial designer who grew up in Canada. His designs include luxury goods, furniture, lighting, countertop design and packaging Time magazine described him as "the most famous industrial designer in all of America" and "the plastic prince".
It is based in New York City, as well as in Belgrade, Miami and Mexico.
He studied at Carlton University in Ottawa and continued his design studies for a master's degree in Italy with Etura Suttas. He currently runs his private studio in New York, where he works on projects ranging from products, furniture and lighting to interior items and fashion items. He defines his style as "sensual minimalism", which aims to create positive emotions in the consumer and design furniture that makes people feel comfortable.
What motivated you to start a career in design?
Karim Rashid: I understood the mission of my life at the age of 5 in London. I went with my father to paint churches on Sundays. He taught me to see - he taught me perspective at that age - he taught me that I can shape anything and touch all aspects of our physical landscape.
I remember drawing a facade of a cathedral and deciding that I did not like the shape of the gothic windows (the pointed top looks dangerous), so I redesigned them. I drew them as ellipses. I also remember winning a children's drawing contest on Queen Elizabeth.
You've been in the design industry for over 30 years, how have you adapted your designs over time?
Karim Rashid: I think my designs are always ahead of their time. I have 20-30 year old concepts that are more relevant and accepted now than they were when I first drew them. I strive to maintain my individualistic creativity and work with the strengths of my clients. Together we can break boundaries and shape the world by using the latest production capabilities.
Even in his outward appearance, Rashid is known for having a unique style - he always wears suits in pink or white, with accessories and additions in strong colors, like the shoes and glasses he usually wears, almost always from his own designs.
I love colors that have the vitality and energy of our digital world. His perception of color is solely about mood and energy.
Men all over the world are not in the business of pink. "I guess I'm the pioneer in this." When confronted with the claim that he looked feminine because of his color choice, he defended himself by saying it was just color.
Being one of the most influential designers of our generation, what choices were the most important in your life that brought you to where you are today?
Can you point to a particular decision you made that made the difference in your career?
Karim Rashid: I was confused as a teenager what profession I would go to. I accelerated high school, so I was 16 when I applied to university and was torn between architecture, art and fashion. I originally applied for an architecture degree in Carlton too late and the program was full. They told me they could accept me in the 'architectural stream' of industrial design so I went to Carlton University expecting to study architecture, but as fate would have it, the second I took some industrial design courses I knew that was what I wanted to do. I assumed you needed to be an architect to design a chair or a coffee machine or a product. I loved the Italian product design landscape, and all the products I admired were designed by architects. In fact, in Italy there was no school of industrial design until 1984.
What's next for Karim Rashid?
Karim Rashid: Next year I plan to build my dream home! I have designed so many spaces for others but this will be my utopia.
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