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Laura Andreini Marco Casamonti

Karim Rashid from the beginning

on the cover photo © Mario Schmolka

editorial project Forma Edizioni srl, Firenze, Italia editorial production Archea Associati scientific director Laura Andreini editorial staff Valentina Muscedra Maria Giulia Caliri graphic design Silvia Agozzino Elisa Balducci Vitoria Muzi Mauro Sampaolesi translations Miriam Hurley photolithography Art & Pixel, Firenze, Italia printing Forma Edizioni, Firenze, Italia

photographs © Karim Rashid Inc. The editor is available to copyright holders for any questions about unidentified iconographic sources.

© 2014 Forma Edizioni srl, Firenze All rights reserved, no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior permission in writing of the publisher. ISBN: 978-88-96780-61-9


International Collaborations


1960-69 (0-9 years old)


1970-79 (10-19 years old)


1980-89 (20-29 years old)

48 56

1990-99 (30-39 years old) Sandra Gering

70 78 116 132

2000-09 (40-49 years old) Klaus Nienk채mper Ross Lovegrove Vanna Meroni

146 164 180 204 208 216

2010-14 (50-54 years old) Agatha Ruiz de la Prada Paul Rowan Paola Colombari Claus Ditlev Jensen Mauro Porcini

Karim lives in 4 cities and is working in 42 countries. He resides in New York, Belgrade, Miami, and Mexico and in hotels globally. He has offices in Manhattan and Shenzhen. Karim has been married twice. He married Serbian chemical engineer Ivana Puric, on September 1st, 2008 in New York City and Belgrade. He was married to Painter Megan Lang, 1995 to 2005. Karim just had first child, Kiva. Born March, 25th 2013. He is the brother of architect Hani Rashid and has a sister musician/painter Soraya Rashid. Karim is renowned for wearing pink and white and his interesting designed glasses from Alain Mikli and Sceye Sweden. He is also well known as an inspiring and provocative global lecturer. Time magazine called him the “Most Famous Industrial Designer in All the Americas�.

1960/1969 0-9

Dazzle | Karim Rashid for Glamora

“I realized my life’s mission at the age of 5, in London. I went sketching with my father in England drawing churches. He taught me to see, he taught me perspective at that age, he taught me that I could design anything and touch all aspects of our physical landscape. I remember drawing a cathedral facade and deciding I did not like the shape of the windows so I redesigned them. I also remember winning a drawing competition for children while sailing from London to Montreal on the Queen Elizabeth, I drew luggage (my own ideas of how to travel)… I was obsessed with drawing eyeglasses, shoes, radios, houses, throughout my childhood.”


Hani, Karim and Mother, Joyce Rashid, London, 1964 | 4 years old

So he continued to work in television. Television and film. And 1967 was the Expo, and probably still one of the best World Fairs in the sense of how Utopian it was and how pivotal it was. It was the beginning, I think, of the a new age. There was this sense of a positive collective notion that the future is going to be a most incredible place. I remember that the Italian Pavilion was by Nervi and Buckminster Fuller and the Geodesic Dome. Here I was just seven years old... but I had an intuitive sense of the fantastic.… Seven years old? Yeah, and my father took us almost every day to the fair because he was waiting for his new job, so he had a couple of months free. So we went there constantly. We would go and look at all the aerospace technology. The Russian pavilion was fantastic. Even though you were a child, do you remember the work of Buckminster Fuller as the most interesting or best thing there? Yeah, it was quite something. In fact, we saw it burn down and about a year and a half later. Someone set it on fire. From where we lived we could see the smoke. It was amazing. There was a project here called Habitat by Moshe Safdie that for my brother and me was a very significant in its architecture. It was this kind of cubic arrangement of housing. I was just talking about the other day how there was a notion in the ’60s that everybody had this really positive future. There wasn’t this sense of doom like we have now. When we talk about the future, there’s a kind of pessimism or cynicism about it, of if you watch a film, it’s al-


ways about a dark future, whereas at that time it was this notion in the 1960s that the future was white; now it’s black. Everything was great, soft organic landscapes. All these things that you really feel as a child when you’re kind of absorbing all this information. This is why biography is so important. The book will be a kind of a story. I think it’s important to understand when we look at your work to understand where it came from and which processes or life trajectories can create the outline of your creations… You know, when I look at my influences, I realize that by then we had moved from Montreal to Toronto and having grown up in a place like Toronto… A piece of information is missing. In this original flurry of nomadism for your family, how long did you stay in Montreal? I think two years. And then we moved to Toronto, so really Toronto was my high school city. When I was in Toronto I remember sitting in the class and everybody was from a different country. My best friend was Czech and on the left was a Yugoslavian and behind me was a girl from Pakistan and over here was Polish, and there was an Italian. You’d have a room of twenty children and they were all from different places. Canada was arguably one of the most multi-cultural countries in the world. Imagine being brought up this way, moving in all those cities. I just started to assume that this is the way the world is, this global melting pot. I loved this. I remember where we lived in a house in Toronto, and around the corner from me was a church and there was a whole strip of bakeries and restaurants, and it was Polish and then there was



Joyce and Mahmoud Rashid with Karim, Montreal, 1967 | 7 years old

1970/1979 10-19

Voxel | Karim Rashid for Abet Laminati

“When I was applying to universities in 1977, I didn’t know that industrial design existed as a profession, but I remember seeing the exhibition “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape” at MoMA with my family and knowing that I wanted to design objects.”


Karim’s Moped 1979 | 19 years old


20-29 Karim, Toronto, 1977 | 17 years old


1980/1989 20-29

Euphoria | Karim Rashid for Wall & Paper

“I was confused as a teenager of what profession I would go into. I had accelerated high school so I was 16 when applying to University and was torn between architecture, fine art, and fashion. I originally enrolled to study Architecture at Carleton but applied too late and the program was full. They could accept me in the ‘Architectural stream’ of Industrial Design. So I went to Carleton University expecting to study architecture, but fate had it that the second I took some Industrial Design courses, I knew that that it was what I wanted to do.”



Imax 3D glasses KAN Industrial Design for IMAX/Fujitsu, Canada


1986|26 years old

and all these French sociologists. I started teaching it to my industrial design students. I was amazed that there was no theory whatsover and you could do a degree in four years without reading a theoretical text. Because industrial design in this country was really kind of craft driven. In art schools and in general it was making things. It was called “making not thinking�. The thing I learned at the University of Toronto, and one of the things I was interested in, was the process of thinking, so I tried to bring that into industrial design. Also, interestingly enough, architecture had gone so left into theory that it had started to become removed from the built environment. Industrial design was so steeped in material. I was really impressed by what was going on in architecture, the sense of academia. I wanted to bring that into industrial design. I started teaching that. After doing that for a year and half at RISD I got fired. I was devastated. They told me that I was teaching theory not design, which was not true. That was like a turning point in my life. I think I was 32 years old, just at a complete loss. I didn’t know what to do. I was in a small town in the United States. Providence was really a strange place because on the one hand, on one side of the river, you had Brown University, and then the other side was debauched. Boarded up department stores; it was dangerous.

Canada Post Mailboxes Canada Post 1986|26 years old



Sketch, 1993 | 33 years old



© Ilan Rubin


2000/2009 40-49

Kaos | Karim Rashid for Ceramica Cielo

“I am very proud of receiving 3 honorary doctorates and being inducted into the Interior Design Magazine Hall of Fame. It is an honor to receive these awards but I feel the real accolade is seeing my objects in average people’s homes or to see a space realized, enjoyed and experienced by people. Design is for people, not for museums.”

I’ll give you two words that are two issues at the center of contemporary discussion about design; tradition and innovation. What are your thoughts about these two key words? Can we find tradition and innovation together in your work? What importance do you give these two factors?


The term “tradition” worries me a little bit, because I think it holds us back. The idea of ritual, the idea of nostalgia, perpetually holds us back. The problem with that is that when we’re pulled back then we fall into antiquated paradigms. To free yourself and innovate you have to almost let go completely of the past. Can tradition and innovation be synchronistic? Possibly, but I don’t think that’s the way I approach my work. Innovation doesn’t have to be radical. It has to be a step forward in the sense of progress or evolution. I’m really not driven at all from history anymore, though I have to say I was. I’m a product of my experiences. I’m a product of my entire 54 years in a sense. I want to be a free thinker, and a free thinker is somebody who has to really exist in the present, and your need for information, inspiration, have to be now. I have a theory and it’s a bit simple, we tend to be a bit derivative or regressive in our work and a lot of time we end up considering the experience of the past as more exhaustive than the present. It’s a given in the fashion industry to look back often and talk about it as

Orange & green Chess Set Bozart, USA 2002|42 years old

IDSA Industrial Design Excellence Award, Gold |2002

Manhole Cover, Millennium Manhole ConEdison, USA 2000 | 40 years old


40-49 Corcoran College Honorary Doctorate 2005 | 45 years old


if it’s the present. Even admitting, “Oh, my fashions are about the 60s” Fashion has that kind of frivolousness. They are educated to think of ideas from history. Design is about a critique of the human condition at this moment in time. First thing that comes to mind is a hotel for which I designed the lobby. Where is this? In Tel Aviv. The style is kind of like fashion. I could decide to hang a chandelier or add something else nice and so on. To me, that’s kind of weak. It’s not very intellectual. It doesn’t show any thinking, other than a taste for what we already know and have seen. In my opinion, it should start by studying the human condition. I spend so much time in hotels, and I have had so many meetings in hotels, business meetings, meeting friends. I sit in them and I sit in the lobby and talk and work and so on. Why? You have four chairs and a coffee table. Everything is known; everything is given. All this, I could argue, is meaningless. We Kouch and Ouch Casamania, Italy


2009|49 years old



thought about how I would get together and have a meeting. How do I work on the acoustics so I can have really intimate relationships, and we allowed those things to inspire the space. If I build a little cocoon around you and me, so we can sit in the lobby and not hear everyone in the reception, that object of a cocoon could even start to inspire a kind of visual extension of it. In the design, in every design, it’s not just about offering a subjective, aesthetic view. You have to choose a strategy and way to work to achieve the goal you set to improve the situations of those using a certain object or living in a certain space. There’s a sense of liberation with which I can offer my intuitions. It's a form of self-actualization when I can work with a lot of freedom, which unfortunately doesn’t happen all the time. I feel free when I can really just let go of history, in the sense of stereotypes behind us. Even when we started this book, my fear of this book was, “I don’t know if I want to go down that road”. I don’t really want to see myself as a child and tell my story because I want to be free. For me, to be free is to think now, to really dissect the world as we see it now. Not just in the sense of design. In the sense of what I write, what I talk about, what I disseminate. Right now I’m doing everything from wallpaper to music. I’m doing fashion. For me, it’s all about embracing and celebrating our existence, that we exist.

Kant Stool Casamania, Italy 2008|48 years old



High Heel Melissa, Brazil 2005|45 years old Sinuous shape decollete shoes, made from Melflex plastic.


40-49 Karim in front of Melissa Shop in San Paolo, Brazil, 2005 | 45 years old

Aranha Sandal Melissa, Brazil

Dynamik shoe Melissa, Brazil

2005|45 years old

2006|46 years old



The Kurv Chair and KurvmanTM are designed as a sensuous flexuosus ribbon of formed wood frame with upholstered center. The continuous band affords a soft springing of the seat and back for maximum comfort and a soft kitenic bounce – to relax and de-stress our lives. The flowing form is designed ergonomically to provide correct lounge seating for all contexts from office to home with an area below for magazines or to store other objects. The Kurvman ottoman also provides storage below and is a continuous band of wood and upholstery to marry the organic chair as a family. These pieces are produced by curving a singular 8-to 10-foot piece of laminated maple, made up of twelve layers. This complex laminating process, which uses a five-part mold, takes the art of wood molding to another level.

Kurv Chair Nienkämper, Canada 2000|40 years old


Klaus Nienkämper |manager Nienkämper Furniture & Accessories Inc.

Wavelenght Bench Nienkämper, Canada 2002|42 years old The Wavelength collection consists of various undulating repeated upholstered forms from lounge chair to benches, to various size sofas.

© Nienkämper

© Nienkämper

“This is one of Karim’s first conceptual drawings for our wave length sofa. We generally discuss a brief for the design and Karim provides us with some conceptual drawings. After we decide to proceed he continues with technical information and we build the product. This design has been requested by several museums around the world and is installed in corporate offices and hotels in Europe and North America.”

Klaus Nienkämper formed his company in 1968, bringing classic European Furniture to the Canadian market. His company exhibited at the Royal Ontario Museum in 1973, and participated in exhibits at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Klaus studied design and merchandizing in his native Germany and completed his threeyear apprenticeship at Knoll International in Duesseldorf, Germany, before working in Finland for a major furniture manufacturer and coming to Canada in 1960. He is a founding member of the Design Exchange and an Honorary Member of the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario. In 2008 the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts honored Klaus with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Medal in recognition for his distinguished contributions to Canadian Culture as a Patron of Art and Design.


Globalight Veuve Clicquot, Francia 2008|48 years old

Popai Gold Medal for Technics and Innovation |2009 Actualidad Economica Award for Best Ideas of the Year |2009

This Cliquot furniture is a contemporary reinterpretation of an 18th century loveseat. The double chair features two opposite seats joined in the center by a pedestal with an ice bucket in the classic Clicquot yellow creating an intimate place to share a glass of champagne or wine. It is the perfect situatuation for lovers to meet: a special chair for two and a common interest in the middle, like being embraced by a giant flower. Its rose pink colour and its feminine curves and audacious modernity offer a fresh take on tradition. “Pink means an extravagance of energy, beauty and a positive love of life. The Loveseat is a festive bubbly celebration of a great pink champagne, my favourite… Veuve Clicquot” Karim Rashid


Loveseat Veuve Clicquot, France 2006|46 years old Two huge plastic flower petals join together on a chrome-plated pedestal topped by a yellow “pistil” shaped like an ice bucket.

40-49 Salone del Mobile Milano, 2007 | 47 years old


Frighetto (Estel Group) Italy

Bloob Table Stool 2002|42 years old Stool in integral polyurethane. Fixed base in chrome-plated steel or swivel base in matt chrome-plated steel with adjustable height.

Spline Chair 2002|42 years old

Kab Chair 2004|44 years old Armchair in compact polyurethane available in lacquered version with legs in lacquered steel or completely covered with leather.

Elegant chair with a sinuous, wrap-around design. Shell made with transparent, white, black or orange gloss-finish polycarbonate or in polycarbonate covered in saddle leather. Another version is available with moulded fireproof polyurethane foam shell and shaped steel insert, all covered in fabric or leather. The types of base available are: fixed base with four steel legs, swivelling multiple ray base or swivelling four-star base, with black, white epoxy paint finish or chromed plated steel. The chair Kab is suitable both for the home environment of the dining room and for prestigious offices or meeting rooms.



Swing Chair 2002|42 years old

© Ilan Rubin


Swivel armchair with shaped steel section frame, covered with moulded polyurethane foam. Available in leather and fabric.

were built in the 1930s and they are of the 1930s. Why would you build a building in 2015 to look like the 1930s? When those buildings were built they were original, so why aren’t you being original now. Every building should indicate the time in which it lives, when it was built. For me there’s no greater waste of resources, waste of energy, waste of intellect, and waste of money than to build things that are trying to copy history. It doesn’t make sense to me whatsoever. A quick example about this. I’m out in Brooklyn at the trendiest restaurant in Williamsburg, and all the hipsters are hanging out there. And what’s the interior? The interior is like a French bistro from the 1880s. My question is if it’s so hip, why isn’t like 2014? If the food is new and innovative and the chefs are all trying to innovate like crazy in cooking, why isn’t the space pushing the values as innovative as the food? Why am I in 2014 sitting on a copy of a copy of a copy of a Thonet chair with the wood thing curling on the back? I mean, in this day and age, there shouldn’t be a chair like this in the world. They shouldn’t exist. They’re uncomfortable. I don’t want to sit at dinner for two hours where I can’t read the menu, the table is some broken piece of wood, the chair is very uncomfortable. I’m looking at old relics on the shelves. Why? I don’t understand it. I don’t, for the life of me, understand why we as human beings accept this stuff, embrace it. Because that’s why it stays, right? Can you imagine if we just cleared the slate for a moment and became far less nostalgic and far more present, what would the world be like? The world would be very, very progressive. But, that said, I guess what I try to do when I design, make an interior, I’m thinking about “What is 2014?” We live in the digital age.


Poly Chair Bonaldo, Italy 2007|47 years old

© Paolo Golumelli


© Alberto Narduzzi

Poly stands for polycarbonate, the only material used for this chair, made by injection molding with a high-volume, powerful press. During its design, which took two years, three different prototypes were made to achieve optimal comfort with adequate mechanical strength. Poly stands out for its multi-faceted forms and its overall image that avoids seeming an object with sharp corners. Suitable for indoors or outdoors, its stackability makes it practical. It comes in diverse colors and finishes, including matte white and black vinyl, transparent, translucent, lemon yellow, and, of course, Karim’s favorite: translucent pink.

Gioia Casa Best Design |2007 Red Dot distinction for high design quality |2007 Good Design Award |2007



Š Paolo Golumelli


2011|51 years old

You speak a lot about experience, technology and its current use. I think it would be interesting to talk about experience in relationship to human experience and intuition. As we noted, you have worked with a lot of different companies and each one has a leader, a CEO. It’d be interesting to hear with whom you were most comfortable working. I’d be interested in hearing not only about the projects you worked on with different companies, but the particular human relationships with the people who worked in these companies. I think we should give some attention to the personal relationship between you and your clients. Such as Guzzini, Artemide, and their owners… Let me tell you about Ernesto Gismondi. I met him when I was 23, and Artemide for me was a fantastic company, and I never even thought that one day I would design for them. I finally went to meet Gismondi about six years ago. I told him that I would like to work for them and explained a few projects. Gismondi was always a really interesting man because he had this kind of underlying distrust of designers he works with. On the one hand he loves you and believes in you. I get the feeling he likes me a lot and respects me, but he’s kind of questioning, so it’s a very hard read. That’s just Gismondi. I love it actually. Those kinds of relationships are very fascinating, because what they do is get you to do better work. Maybe this is his agenda over all his years. He’s learned how to get the best work out of designers by making them feel insecure about what they do. He’s a very clever man, phenomenal. The company is probably over 50 years old, and I would say one of the top brands in the world. He really created a phenomenon.


Nearco Pendant pendant Lamp Artemide, Italy

Empirico Pendant Lamp Artemide, Italy 2011|51 years old


Artemide Italy

Cadmo Floor Lamp Artemide, Italy 2006|46 years old Floor lamp. A steel panel or blown glass screens and releases a soft indirect light upwards together with a diffused light along the vertical aperture of the lamp. Combination of halogen light sources, for indirect and diffused emission, with separate switching. Painted steel body lamp, with cover-base in painted inox-steel.

Gioia Casa Best Design |2007 Good Design Award |2007 iF product design award |2010 Red Dot distinction for high design quality |2010

Doride Floor Lamp Artemide, Italy 2009|49 years old

Š Miro Zagnoli

Steel base and a structure in hydroformed metal; anti-dazzle louvre in thermoplastic material. A joint long the vertical lamp development allows a rotation until 350°, adjusting the light emission and assuming different shapes in the space. Touch dimmer placed on the stem.

Good Design Award |2009 iF product Design Award |2011 Good Design Award |2012

Hellraiser Collection Alessi, Italy 2011|51 years old


Collection of stainless and colored steel containers. The range includes a basket, tray and fruit bowl, all featuring cut-out geometric shapes.

Interior Design Best of Year - Accessories |2012



Š Emanuele Zamponi


Oxford Porcelanas Brazil

Caneca Knukles Colors, Quartier Squeeze, Shift Black and White, Moringa Glob

Š courtesy of Oxford Porcelanas


2013|53 years old


50Coup Dust

© courtesy of Oxford Porcelanas

2013|53 years old

In 2013, its 60’s birthday, the Oxford Porcelanas, a tableware company from Brazil had the challenge to release a collection that looks to the future. The choose of Karim Rashid to design this collection was made due to the synergy of values. The global and contemporary design of Karim Rashid is in harmony with the moment of the company. What they needed was a domestic line that was both affordable and practical, that could bring the design to people’s daily lives. This equation was the challenge of the teams that worked on the project. And the industrial vision of Karim on production, distribution, environmental and sustainability issues were important in this process.


AnestasiA Vodka Bottle AnestasiA Vodka, USA 2012|52 years old Vodka bottle comprised of a multitude of glass panels for a distinctive faceted look, inspired from the angular strokes of the letters V and K in the word vodka.

Spark Communication Award |2012 MicroLiquor Spirit Awards Gold Packaging Design Award |2012 MicroLiquor Spirit Awards Triple Gold Medal |2012 iF Packaging Design Award |2013 Good Design Award |2013 PentAward Gold |2013


Paris Baguette, South Korea

Paris Baguette, South Korea

2010|50 years old

2013|53 years old


Eau Bottle

Red Dot Communication Design Award |2013 PentAward Gold |2013

Pentaward Silver - Beverages |2010

Dieline Packaging Award |2013

Red Dot Communication Award - Packaging |2010



Karim Magazine Covers



This volume was printed in March 2014, by Forma Edizioni, Italy.

Karim Rashid - From the beginning - English version  

Forma Edizioni promote and enhance their research on contemporary designers with this volume dedicated to the works of Karim Rashid in colla...

Karim Rashid - From the beginning - English version  

Forma Edizioni promote and enhance their research on contemporary designers with this volume dedicated to the works of Karim Rashid in colla...