|FOCUS: MILAN FURNITURE FAIR|
Karim Rashid: Having A Ball
Just like his multicoloured creations, New York designer Karim Rashid always looks on the bright side of life: ‘I have been to the east, I have been to the west, but nothing is as exciting as the MILAN FURNITURE FEST’, he answers when asked how he feels about his numerous product launches at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. To the world traveler Rashid, the Milan Furniture Fair can be an ‘oasis of style, of contemporary agenda… and proposals on new commodities for our global domestic landscape’. His latest designs vary from club chairs for Natuzzi, table and chairs for Frighetto, couches for Felice Rossi and a brand new Carim chair with castors for Cappellini, to carpets made by Postdesign, the alo stool and table as well as a new Butterfly stool for Magis, to even vases for RSVP. And the designer humbly says, ‘there may be more’. With so many releases, no wonder the Cairo-born designer, who is half-English, half-Egyptian and grew up mostly in Canada is excited about being in Milan. He still thinks, ‘you can love it and hate it simultaneously – it can be miserable, grey, hot, sticky, ugly, wet, damp, lonely, dirty, and at the same time it can be so beautiful, so powerful, so poetic’.
The energetic 43-year old tucked a few days in for the Salone after launching a perfume bottle for Davidoff, the Golay Pearl jewelry collection, the Mind Body S(e)oul Future House in Korea on top of a recently completed Athens hotel and while creating an 11-storey building in San Francisco. Sometimes Rashid’s candy-coloured anthropomorphic designs are so mass-market, they’ll hardly get recognised as his work, like Issey Miyake’s famous L’Eau D’Issey Flacon or the omnipresent OH Chair by Umbra. Only recently, the restless designer, who once became famous for his Garbo garbage can (also for Umbra), got to design significant spaces like the Nambe Flagship Store in Denver or the Morimoto Restaurant in Philadelphia (2001). ‘There is so much to do’, he explains, ‘I want to design cars, planes, clothes, houses, robots, and shape the future.… I want to host a design TV show, I want to create music, I want to design a small museum… I want to be part of the entire world, working in every country, touching the souls of everyone. I want to be smarter, faster, stronger.’ Overflowing with creativity the designer-cum-philosopher is now working on his second book, following on from the 2001 release of I Want to Change the World.
For Rashid the Salone is ‘the centre of the earth for five days for the world of furniture’. But he also complains that you’ll ‘see one piece of furniture after another’. ‘How many variations can there be of the same thing’, he wonders. Well, he’s the only one who knows.