As the paramount design mind in today’s popular culture, Karim Rashid uses his critically acclaimed talent and seemingly limitless passion to shape universal global culture. His presence and achievements cannot be understood without understanding his seamless movement amongst different traditions, creative hubs and cultures. Dominating the global design circuits for over a decade while donning his signature white or pink suit, Rashid has become the internationally celebrated architect of style with an evangelistic mission to beautify the world.
Photo via Normann Copenhagen
Rashid’s most notable designs include the Oh Chair for Umbra, a concept store forGiorgio Armani, manhole covers for the sewers of New York and the critically acclaimed bobble water bottle. His work is featured in 20 permanent galleries around the world including the MoMA, Centre Pompidou and SFMOMA. Perhaps the flagship of the over 3,000 projects Rashid has had in production to date in the realms of architecture and design, the bobble bottle created a stylistic and functional solution to a unanimous problem of travel with a water bottle by adding a simple filter. Over 15 million bobbles have been shipped all over the world.
Rashid’s background provides a deeper understanding of his global persona. Born to an Egyptian abstract painting father and an English mother, Rashid migrated between Paris, London, and Canada before landing in New York City. His background has served as the drawing board for his uniquely eclectic style.
At first glance, Rashid’s style may appear unapproachably avant-garde, bordering on radical. However, he has designed products sold to millions of people via hyper-accessible stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and the Container Store. Making no distinction between high and low design, Rashid creates products with one goal in mind: to provide a quality aesthetic experience to the user, whatever his or her price point may be.
Creating elegantly designed products with global appeal requires the distinctive capacity to bring democratic design sensibility to the average person. As a self-described architect of ‘sensual minimalism,’ Rashid harnesses curves and bright colors to redefine the aesthetics of product design and accordingly, the soul of global consumer culture.
Rashid’s designs are his vehicle to generate a global dialogue about social change. The former DJ uses fluid forms and modern materials to represent the actualization of virtual reality and the underground music culture. What he is trying to do, he says, ‘is use furniture as a medium to talk a little more evanescently about the qualities of the digital age.’ With a mission at the junction between self-expression, humanistic values and user-driven functionality, the outspoken and impeccably dressed global visionary embodies what global design is all about.