The famous Karim Rashid offered us his precious time to answer our questions. It is an opportunity to return to his work and discover his latest projects.
You are a designer with international renown, can you tell us about your background?
I studied industrial design at Carleton University in Canada. Ettore Sottsass taught me during my first stay in Italy not to be an artist too much. Then, working with Rodolfo Bonetto taught me that the industrial object is a manifestation of behavior. I worked full time for ten years as an industrial designer, designing products for Black and Decker, Samsung, and other brands. My job annoyed me enormously, but I didn't have enough self-confidence to start my own business. So I finally resigned from a design company in Canada to become a full-time academic at the Rhode Island School of Design. I was then suddenly fired, and found myself without money. Lost, I decided to go to New York and try to found my own design office. I now have 22 employees in my New York office, and a workshop in Amsterdam.
Do you have a favorite field?
I have no preference. I want to touch every aspect of our existence, and the more I can do it through my creations, the more inspiration I will have to continue designing. I have worked a lot lately on interiors, and on public places. What I like about working on architecture and interior spaces is that it gives me the opportunity to really influence the world in which people evolve, the way they interact, and the emotions that 'they feel. At the same time, I really love designing everyday objects. In addition, my aesthetic signature evolves and always changes depending on the object treated, the typology, the brand, the solution most suited to the project in question.
How would you rate your work?
The will to embellish the world, to create products and well-designed environments, provocative, stimulating and soothing at the same time, is at the origin of all my projects. In everything I do, whether it's a perfume bottle or a restaurant, what interests me is to create new languages, to speak about our technological universe and to communicate the era in which we live.
Can you tell us more about your collaboration with BoConcept and the Ottawa collection?
I was delighted to work with BoConcept whose products are both beautiful and accessible to everyone, and which has a global reach. I have respected their brand for a very long time, and I even bought some of their furniture. The Ottawa collection includes complete dining room furniture: a table, chairs, a sideboard and a cabinet. We have also created a large collection of accessories, including a pendant lamp, a table lamp, vases, ceramic bowls, series of rugs and mugs. The collection of accessories is a kind of retrospective of my work, from my beginnings to today. I included sketches from my first years, where I covered entire pages of continuous patterns, my explorations in my "digipop" drawings supposed to capture and comment on our information era, and more personal drawings.
What is your favorite creation in the collection, and why?
My favorite creation is the Ottawa chair, whose shape resembles that of a leaf. The shape of the chair legs, the table and the sideboard give the impression of creating a forest of trees; a trendy landscape. The best thing about the chair is that it is very comfortable! All the elements of the collection are soft, so you feel relaxed and at ease in the house.
You also signed a reel with the Scotch brand, why did you make this original choice?
I am very happy to work with 3M on their Scotch and Post-it distributors. These are ubiquitous products that are rarely given much thought or design work. The Pebble collection was created to offer an island of softness and serenity to our view, while attracting our hands towards pleasant and functional objects. Through rigorous research, know-how and inspiration, 3M creates objects and technology that are changing our world. Under the very good direction of Mauro Porcini, they also understand that every object in our lives can be inspiring, poetic, and beautiful. Together, we create products that are as beautiful as they are functional.
What are your future projects?
I am currently working on condominiums in Miami with the Related Group, a boutique hotel in Tel Aviv, a 600-room hotel in Bangkok, a dental office in Calgary, hotels in Hamburg and New York, new designs for Alessi, Artemide , Nambe, Bitossi, B-Line, Vondom, Tonelli, packaging for Unilever, a line of culinary accessories for Silicone Zone, a winter coat for Peuterey, appliances for Gorenje, glasses for Coca Cola, food packaging in Korea, alliances for space weddings for a Polish company, several artistic performances in Ukraine and New York, and many other projects on a global scale. I just designed skateboards, kitchens with Aran, Italy, a new bottle of vodka, a media lab at Queens University in Toronto, a new boutique in New York for Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, and come to release a new Bobble Water for Target and Wal-Mart. These are all dream projects.