ICFF Designers: Karim Rashid

ICFF Designers: Karim Rashid

The iconic designer talks about recent work and shares insights about his design process and inspirations.

Dory Carr-Harris, PSFK
  • 14 may 2011

This week, PSFK will be interviewing a variety of designers — both established and up-and coming, to give a preview of what to look forward to at this year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), taking place this Friday through Monday in New York. This year, the majority of designers will be displaying their work at the Jacob K. Javits center, and we’ve asked them to give us some insights into what they will be displaying, their design process, where to find them in the center, and which booths they’ll be checking out in their free time.

We asked Karim Rashid to share some thoughts and images about his work and the work of others with us.

What are you preparing to show at this year’s ICFF?

I am showing 20 pieces never before seen in the US, from 11 different clients as an homage to 2011 and that I LOVE NY. I don’t want to give the whole show away, but I’m particularly excited about the collection designed for B-Line. I really respect B-Line as a company and the beautiful products they’ve produced for Rodolfo Bonetto (whom I worked for in Milano in 1984) and Joe Colombo. I think the Cross Lamp I designed for Freedom of Creation is unlike anything you’ve seen from me before, and my Highroller chair from Punkalive is a really interesting piece due to its sustainably. The special finish wood comes form a forest and the chair is made right at the forest factory. Everything selected for the show is from my various clients around the world.

How would you briefly describe your design process?

I think, observe, and sketch profusely. I frequently design when I’m traveling, as the plane offers the perfect escape from distraction and any outside influences. I’m inspired by every new city, site, sound, and experience, so the development of new ideas comes fluidly to me. Technology, organic shapes, emotive color, and stimulating surfaces influence the form my design takes, as I want everything to be sensual, intuitive, immersive, and beautiful. I fill sketch books weekly, and then I bring my designs back to the studio. My team creates 3D renders of my ideas, does research with me on materials, production processes, and then we refine the concepts based on all the plethora of criteria, be it social , economic, or technological issues until my vision is realized.

Have any recent design trends influenced your current work?

I don’t follow trends; I design using contemporary criteria and in turn, shape the future. Too many trends are just evocations or derivations from vaults of the past, nostalgia, or arbitrary embellishment. I am interested in developing products that are accessible to everyone and I believe design is democratic. Good design can also shift and change human behavior and create new social conditions. Design has evolved based on a plethora of complex criteria – human experience; social, global, economic and political issues; physical and mental interaction, form, vision, and a rigorous understanding of contemporary culture. However, manufacturing is based on another collective group of criteria: capital investment, market share, production ease, dissemination, growth, distribution, maintenance and service, performance, quality, ecological issues and sustainability. The combination of all of these components has come to shape our interiors, inform our aesthetic, our physical culture, and our human experiences.Who is the one designer whose work you will definitely be checking out at the show?I’m excited to attend the Fluorescent Ball for Mad Museum. They will display beautiful work by Kenzo Minami, Jeff Muhs, Bliss Lau.

Do you feel the ICFF show is evolving in a way which keeps pace with the design industry?

It is difficult going to the ICFF right after the Milan Salone. Everyone always complains about the ICFF and that it is nothing like the Saloni Milano but NY was never a design city, it was an art city and a commerce city. But I blame the press because Saloni grew in 50 years due to media. Our media here barley mention the ICFF. When they do, they show a few craft-like sophomoric projects, and not ‘real’ design. The whole world covers the saloni one month prior and for the whole year following! So I am doing 3 shows as my contribution to ICFF awareness and help nurture its’ energy. Ironically all the best work and best events are European. There is never the same energy and effort put forth by the Americans (with the exception of Dune).

Where will you be exhibiting during this year’s ICFF?

My solo exhibit is taking place at the duplex studio of the Chelsea Modern. We’ll open the exhibition for the four days of the ICFF with a cocktail reception on Sunday, May 15th with DJ & Cocktails. Im also speaking at Artemide’s Designer Talk on the 14thand having a cocktail event to celebrate new work with Christofle on the 17th. I look forward to it all :)With my Globalove to the ICFF!

Thanks, Karim!

Karim Rashid

As the culmination of all our ICFF coverage, PSFK will be hosting a Salon on the Future of Design featuring the editors of top design websites. The event will take place this Friday the 13th from 8:30 to 11am at Soho House.

Click here for details.


How Indiegogo Is Becoming An Adult Product Destination

Home september 23, 2016

Watch This Fire Pit Dance Along To Your Favorite Song

Music City Fire is a system that is designed to flicker in time to ambient music

Automotive september 23, 2016

Slick GPS Navigator Gives Directions To Moped Riders

This small, round device attaches to a sideview mirror to display maps for safer traveling


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Home september 23, 2016

A Clock That Beautifully Manages Your Information Overload

The wall-mounted timekeeper is made to help people maintain focus and stay up to date with their appointments

Arts & Culture september 23, 2016

Performance Piece Blends Dancers Into Folds Of Light

The work provides commentary on the increasing connection between programmed and analog dimensions

Related Expert

Xioachang Li

Cultural Theorist and Researcher

Design & Architecture september 23, 2016

Design Firm Adapts Childhood Homes For Unemployed Young Adults

The studio has unveiled three prototypes of transformed living spaces for people forced to move back in with their families

Health september 23, 2016

These Chocolate Squares Claim To Reverse The Aging Process

A group of researchers from Cambridge University have developed a candy bar that promises to give you a youthful glow

Cities september 23, 2016

Food-Producing Architecture Competition Seeks To Better Feed Cities

A design challenge in Copenhagen highlights the need and beauty of urban farming


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 21, 2016

Everything I Know About Leadership I Learned Teaching 7th Grade Math

Bree Groff, Managing Director at NOBL NYC, shares her secrets for knowing your employees and enabling a team

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Health september 23, 2016

Wearable Monitors Sun Exposure To Prevent Sunburn

The clip monitors UV rays to make sure you're not receiving too much sunlight

Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

Culture september 23, 2016

This Exhibition’s Crowning Jewel Is An 18k Gold-Plated Toilet

The piece, titled 'America,' is meant to raise questions about the country's wealth inequality

Culture september 23, 2016

Match Up With Dates On Tinder Based On Your Music Preferences

A new partnership with Spotify lets people pair up based on shared tastes in artists

Entertainment september 23, 2016

Capture, Cut Up, And Configure Your World In 360 Degrees

To meet a booming 360 and VR video-capturing industry, a multimedia software company bolstered its media editing suite for 360-video creation


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Advertising september 23, 2016

These Trucks Drove Around In Circles For 24 Hours To Keep Time

The giant ticking clock was created by 14 Scania vehicles in a deserted airfield

Advertising september 23, 2016

Buy Movie Tickets Directly From Your Facebook Profile

The new feature is part of a campaign from Fandango to further imbed social media into the ticket vendor's digital presence

Asia september 23, 2016

Co-Working Space Brings The Calming Atmosphere Of Nature Indoors

An architectural firm in China has designed a new type of shared office that prioritizes the natural environment

No search results found.