One of the best known personalities in the world of design and one of our favourite designers – Karim Rashid. Recognised immediately thanks to his fresh and truly unique style, use of fantastic curves and mesmerizing plays of colour. One of the most prolific designers of his generation with over 3000 designs in production, over 300 awards and working in over 40 countries attest to Karim’s legend of design.
He was born in Cairo, Egypt to an Egyptian father and English mother, raised in Canada and is now a US Citizen. He received a Bachelor of Industrial Design in 1982 from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He pursued graduate design studies in Naples, Italy, with Ettore Sottsass and others, then moved to Milan for one year at the Rodolfo Bonetto Studio. Rashid went on to work with KAN Industrial Designers in Canada. There he co-founded and designed the Babel Fashion Collection and North between 1985-91. In 1992 Rashid opened a private design studio in New York City.
His award winning designs include luxury goods for Christofle, Veuve Clicquot, and Alessi, democratic products for Umbra, Bobble, and 3M, furniture for Bonaldo and Vondom, lighting for Artemide and Fabbian, high tech products for Asus and Samsung, surface design for Marburg and Abet Laminati, brand identity for Citibank and Sony Ericsson and packaging for Method, Paris Baguette, Kenzo and Hugo Boss.
Some of his best known projects are the Morimoto restaurant, Philadelphia; Semiramis hotel, Athens; nhow hotel, Berlin; Universita Metro Station, Naples as well as exhibition design for Deutsche Bank and Audi.
Karim’s latest monograph, XX (Design Media Publishing, 2015), features 400 pages of work selected from the last 20 years. Other books include From The Beginning, an oral history of Karim’s life and inspiration (Forma, 2014); Sketch, featuring 300 hand drawings (Frame Publishing, 2011); KarimSpace, featuring 36 of Karim’s interior designs (Rizzoli, 2009); Design Your Self, Karim’s guide to living (Harper Collins, 2006); Digipop, a digital exploration of computer graphics (Taschen, 2005); Compact Design Portfolio (Chronicle Books 2004); as well as two monographs, titled Evolution (Universe, 2004) and I Want to Change the World (Rizzoli, 2001).
Karim’s work is featured in 20 permanent collections and he exhibits art in galleries world wide. Karim is a perennial winner of the Red Dot award, Chicago Athenaeum Good Design award, I. D. Magazine Annual Design Review, IDSA Industrial Design Excellence award.
Karim is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and conferences globally disseminating the importance of design in everyday life. He holds Honorary Doctorates from the OCAD, Toronto and Corcoran College of Art & Design, Washington. Karim has been featured in magazines and books including Time, Vogue, Esquire, GQ, Wallpaper, and countless more.
Rashid’s most important design awards include the George Nelson Award in 1999, the Canadian Designer of the Year award in 2001, and the Red Dot Design Award in 2012.
In 2010 Rashid won the Pentaward, a worldwide packaging design awards competition. The award (silver) was proudly won jointly by Box House and Karim Rashid Studio. He is the very first designer to receive this special Pentaward for his creative excellence in packaging design. The overall number of awards he received for his designs is astonishing, you can see the full list here: karimrashid.com/awards
In his spare time Karim’s pluralism flirts with art, fashion, and music and is determined to creatively touch every aspect of our physical and virtual landscape.
See also: Top Interior Designers | Andrée Putman
Karim’s touch and style expands beyond product to fascinating interiors. His industrial design firm has grown into interior design and graphic design over the past 15 years, helping clients to achieve their goals on a broad range of project typologies and global locations.
Studio has an international team of talented designers and is supported by a varied portfolio of global consultants for any type of project. Their design range from the private residences to the large mixed use building. International staff of the studio speaks 12 languages.
Their top protects include:
- industrial design – Oh Chair, Bobble, Cadmo, Nambe Butterfly Collection, Kloud Collection, Touch Kitchen
- interior design – MyBrickell Condo, Nhow Hotel, Smart-ologic Corian Living, The Deutsche Bank Lounge, Fun Factory Munich
- graphic design – Anestasia Vodka, Custom i40 Art Car, Supernova Luggage, Citi Simplicity Card, Semiramis Hotel Branding
- other – Pop Toothbrush, Prizeotel Hamburg-City, PYL Lifestyle Collection, Majik Cafe
Kocoon chair for Becker Brackel (2015)
Karan Kitchen for Aran Cucine (2015)
Vertex Stool for Vondom (2014)
Ottawa Collection for BoConcept (2012)
Spin Collection for Georg Jensen (2006)
Blink Collection for Mglass (2003)
Steelforme Collection for Steelforme (2014)
Calypsocase Collection for Calypso Crystal (2013)
Oskar Mirror for B-Line (2013)
Bobble Sport for Bobble (2014)
Cyborg for Martinelli Luce (2015)
Blob Chandelier for Purho (2015)
Kinx Lamp for Fontana Arte (2015)
Hospitality – Tel Aviv Hotel
When I was a child I wanted to be a mathematician, then a painter, then a combination like AGAM or Vasarely. Then I decided I wanted to be Picasso, then I fell in love with pop art like Warhol, Wesselman, and then I loved the Russian constructivists, then the abstract expressionists, then the minimalists. It is hard for me to see my own style and define my place in the world of cultural movements. But I have always referred to my work as sensual minimalism, but also Infosthetik. Tel Aviv boutique hotel is a marriage of Bauhaus & digital age, form & function, crafts & fine arts, digital & organic, simplicity & ornamentation, white city & my personal accent colors. I love the larger experiential impact a hotel can have on people lives. With hospitality design or public space, I know that masses of people have access to my designs, and they aren’t just looking at it, they are physically immersing themselves inside my concepts.
Residential – Miami Beach Condo
The building was designed by Chad Oppenheim in 2006. The 1000 sq. foot concrete loft is located in the heart of South Beach on Meridian Ave. The corner setting with a wrap around 450sqf terrace and high ceilings allows for tons of glass and light. The space is decorated in Karim’s signature sensual minimal style with an open plan living space and two bedrooms divided by sliding glass doors. The kitchen features Corian sink and counter tops as well as Scavolini Ikon cabinets and Gorenje appliances designed by Karim. The floor is tiled in large ceramic Tau Ceramica tiles in a white and black Digipop pattern. The furnishings are 100% Karim designed including the Vertex dining table and chairs by Vondom, pink Zero desk by Della Rovere, Doride lamp by Artemide, yellow Time and Space lamp by Zero, mint Infinity couch by Rowe, Kloud loveseat by Nienkamper, Dekon coffee table by Tonelli and Surf chaise lounges by Vondom. The white loft is accented with large striking art by Gerold Miller, Dalek, Julien Opie and Karim’s own works.
Public – Naples Universita Metro Station
The University of Naples subway station is highly trafficked by a multi-cultural, academic community of thousands of passengers a day. Entering into the station from the piazza to the subway station, the visitor will walk though a space clad with tiles, each one with is printed with new words created in this last century. Once the visitor arrives in the station lobby, he/she is impacted by the soft nature of the space, the striking palette of colors and patterns. Descending and ascending the stairwells on each respective platform, the steps have abstracted portraits of Dante and Beatrice. Once the commuter arrives at the end of the escalator, transformational digital art follows he/she to the platform stairways. The accent colors, lime and pink, indicates the direction and guide visitors through the descent to the final destination. Made in collaboration with Atelier Mendini.
Retail – Oaza Zdravlja Pharmacy
The architectural forms of the Oaza Zdravlja Pharmacy reference the beautiful intricacies of the human body and healing process. Through the use of soft flowing walls and organic shapes a sense of comfort and security is immediately established. Framed by the sweeping curvature of the walls, a simple, yet powerful counter elegantly hovers above the ground plane. This form is symbolic of the journey medication takes through the body’s cellular framework. Beyond this emblematic expression, the organic counter is also the literal location that provides the medicinal means to recovery and relief.
The Most Iconic Projects
Nhow Hotel in Spain
Nhow hotel celebrates Berlin’s modern zeitgeist and connects it to the rest of the world by creating a technorganic land of data-driven art and spaces.
Set on the Spree River, the old line between East and West Berlin, the Nhow hotel bridges the digital age of information and the physical and spiritual needs of visitors.
The two towers are designed for different needs. The East Tower rooms feature a sunrise/sunset color scheme of warm golds and invigorating fuchsia. The West Tower Technolux rooms have cooler color schemes of grey, blue and pale pink.
High aloft the hotel, the Upper towers have premium views of the Spree River, and are awash in calm colors, ideal for business traveler or peaceful get-away.
Karim Rashid Loft
Karim describes the apartment as “one large space that is transformable, rearrangeable, and allows objects and furniture to breath – to shape the personality of the space.”
The light-filled, 1600 sq feet. Chelsea apartment has south and west facing windows with views to the Hudson River.
Recently renovated, Karim replaced partition wall between bedroom and living room with translucent glass wall and sliding pocket door.
Karim designed Marburg wallpaper covers the kitchen and living room walls. All other walls are painted white. Pink Lonseal Lonmetro UV flooring was laid in the living room, office and kitchen. Magenta carpet in bedroom and walk in closet.
Inspiring Thoughts from Karim Rashid
For the longest time design only existed for the elite and for a small insular culture. I have worked hard for the last 20 years trying to make design a public subject.
Every business should be completely concerned with beauty – it is after all a collective human need.
I believe that we could be living in an entirely different world – one that is full of real contemporary inspiring objects, spaces, places, worlds, spirits and experiences.
My real desire is to see people live in the modus of our time, to participate in the contemporary world, and to release themselves from nostalgia, antiquated traditions, old rituals, kitsch and the meaningless. We should be conscious and attune with this world in this moment. If human nature is to live in the past – to change the world is to change human nature.
Top Projects Gallery