Born in Egypt and raised in Canada, Karim Rashid is an industrial designer who is credited with designs from luxury goods, to lighting, surface design, furniture, brand identity, and packaging. Time magazine calls Karim Rashid the “Prince of Plastic” or “the most famous industrial designer in all the Americas.”
Born in Cairo, Egypt in 1960 to an Egyptian father and an English mother, Karim had to fight from the very beginning. He was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck which caused a lack of oxygen to his brain. He experienced developmental delays and a speech impediment because of this, but today, he is far from that tiny boy with problems.
Rashid was raised in Canada and attended high school in Mimico, Toronto, Ontario. His brother is a famed architect (Hani Rashid of Asymptote), and his sister (Soraya Rashid) is a painter and a musician.
Karim is a father of one, Kiva Rashid, born in 2013. His wife is Ivana Puric, a Serbian chemical engineer. Karim and Ivana married in 2008. Rashid is truly a renaissance man and his trademark wears white or pink clothing.
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.
Education and career
In 1982, Rashid was awarded a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He went on to follow up his studies with Ettore Sottsass and worked on a graduate degree in Naples, Italy. After graduation, Rashid left for Milan for a year and worked at the Rodolfo Bonetto Studio.
Rashid worked with KAN Industrial Designers in Canada for seven years where he developed x-ray equipment. Being a high entrepreneur, he co-founded and designed the BABLE Fashion Collection and North. In 1993, his private design studio was opened in New York City.
Karim Rashid is one of today’s most inexhaustible high-profile designers. Included in his portfolio are at least 3000 designs, over 300 awards and works renowned in over 40 countries. Karim Rashid is a pure genius. You can attest to this by looking at his works and designs located in over 20 art galleries and collections worldwide. He designs luxury goods for Alessi, Veuve Clicquot and Christofle, Umbra, Bobbie, and 3M, plus furniture for Bonaldo and Vondom, and lighting for Artemide and Fontan Arte.
Perhaps you have heard of the Umbra Garbo waste can, the Umbra Oh Chair, a concept store for Giorgio Armani and perfume bottles for Kenzo, bobble water bottles, watches, and tableware for Alessi, and lightening for Artemide plus products for Veuve Clicquot. Look around you as you walk the streets of New York. Rashid’s designs include manhole covers for the sewers of New York.
In case you think Karim’s design portfolio is not extensive enough, Karim designs high tech products for Asus and Samsung and surface design for Marurg and Abet laminate. Brand identity design is a challenge Karim’s has overcome, and his work with brand identity can be found at Citibank, Sony, and Ericsson. Packaging for Method, Kenzo, Paris Baguette, and Hugo Boss have the touch of Karim Rashid.
In 2012, Rashid collaborated with Terence Koh for a limited edition of winter coats for the 10th anniversary of the Italian Brand Peuterey. In 2014, Karim Rashid in conjunction with Hap Investments, designed several real estate developments in New York City. In 2016, it was advertised that the talents of Karim Rashid were being used in the design of the multimillion-dollar makeover of Temptation Resort and Spa in Cancun, Mexico.
Karim Rashid’s talents have expanded to interiors like the Morimoto restaurant in Philadelphia, Semiramis Hotel in Athens, nhow hotel in Berlin, Universita Metro Station in Naples plus an exhibition design for Deutsche Bank and Audi.
Does Karim have any spare time? What little he has he uses to breeze through art, fashion, and music. It is Karim’s goal to reactively touch every characteristic of the virtual as well as the physical world.
An Addendum to Karim’s’ Career
Many fans have asked if it is true that Karim is a DJ. With great pleasure, the answer is, “yes.” Watch Karim in the act on the website during the Cooper-Hewitt’s Cross Currents DJ Series and the Guggenheim. Watch for upcoming events on Karim Rashid official website, and you may be able to watch Karim on the decks.