Karim Rashid is an international designer whose work includes furniture, lighting, surface design, brand identity and packaging. Time magazine have described him at the “most famous industrial designer in America” and his is known for being innovative, forward-looking and wearing all white or all pink clothing.
At Carleton University, Karim studied industrial design and spends a good deal of time focused on democratic products – like how to make a good alarm clock. After graduation, he studied design in Naples and becomes frustrated that the design glorified in magazines was so elitist, expensive and low-volume. Karim wants to design for the majority but found it hard to find companies to work with. His first job is with Canadian firm KAN Industrial Designers - his designs include a plastic snow shovel for Black & Decker and a new line of mailboxes for Canada Post.
In the 1990’s a broke Karim peddled his creations like a door-to-door salesman, pitching to dozens of big companies but was rejected again and again. After meeting at a trade show, Karim was hired by Nambé to create a line of tabletop accessories in polished metal alloy. His sleek and curvy salt and pepper shakers and vases were a hit, his name prominent in the marketing, like a fashion designer’s. Karim’s profile was growing and in 1996 Umbra considers applying his “sexy style” to the boring garbage can. In sketches, he produced a curvy, plastic design with built-in handles and swooping lines that make it easy to clean and ship – it was called Garbo. “It was beautiful,” Karim says of the $9.99 trash can, which sold seven million units and is exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art.
Karim has made an art of bringing new ideas and innovation to the widest-possible audience. A recipient of 300 international awards and creator of 3,500 spectrum spanning products that fill kitchen cabinets, bedrooms and boutique hotels across the globe. Inspired by his view that all design is a "rigorous beautification of our built environments," Karim uses unexpected shapes and colours and unusual materials to create objects and environments that are at the forefront of design innovation.
Karim is an equally prolific interior designer, with a vast and diverse repertoire of installations and built work including luxury hotels (Athens’ Semiramis), restaurants (Morimoto in Philadelphia, Nooch noodle bars in Singapore and NYC), a subway station in Naples, custom home interiors and installations at sites around the world. Karim has designed stores for Georgio Armani, manhole covers for the sewers of New York, perfume bottles for Kenzo, watches and tablewear for Alessi, light for Artemide and products for Veuve Clicquot. He has worked for Audi, BoConcept, Samsung, Swarowski, Bombay Saffire, Issey Miyake and Estee Lauder.
Karim is married to Ivana Rashid and together they have one child, Kiva Rashid and live in Manhattan.
So, why is he a #Houseproud hero?
Karim Rushid is one of the world’s most famous industrial designers, known for the undulating, curvy current that runs through much of his work. Crowned the “Prince of Plastic” by Time, he is prolific and outspoken: he believes good design should be applied to all aspects of life - and death. He says
“At the beginning of my career, I thought the greatest accolade was to be in a permanent collection at a museum. I’ve come to understand that much bigger than that is to walk into someone’s home and see products that I’ve designed. Everyone, collectively, wants good design.”
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