PSFK Talks With Karim Rashid About His Doride Lamp and Design Today
Much of your recent work is inspired by digital or synthetic shapes. The Doride lamp’s shape is reminiscent of a leaf. Are you looking to nature more now for design inspiration?
The Doride is not inspired by a leaf shape. I do not copy or derivate nature but I am interested in natural forms – what I mean by natural forms, is that they just feel comfortable, proportional, as if they ‘should’ exist – forms that seem like they belong to this world, to us, to human nature. But I am inspired and driven by 2 issues, human behavior, and the digital age. digital software, and digital tools or digital production all take precedent in my work. But with that said I am trying to create a ‘digital nature’. I envisioned an elegant armature, moving in nature, articulating at a point in the spine, with a thin articulating curvilinear branch that can rotate seamlessly 350 degrees. The slim narrow form morphs from direct to indirect light seamlessly. Doride is like my stroke of a pen, a soft vertical wave in flux, a fluid gesture that changes to vary light – a zoomorphic creation.
Has the change in climate in the economy altered the way you work with companies these days?
As we focus energy on depression, recession, and the negative state of our economy we forget the true meaning of design. The problem is that when we use the word ‘design’ we think of fashion, extravagant ‘art’ furniture, and expensive poetic objects, radical buildings, or nonfunctional products, but this is not design. We think of ‘style’ not design. Any new work that recalls or implies pr signifies history is style, not design. Design is about shaping the future, about contemporary needs, desires, technologies, materials, and new social behaviors. Design is about revisiting and evolving our culture and physical landscape. Innovation is inseparable from design. It is not about trends, it is not about problem solving, it is not about just ‘form’ or just ‘function’ – design is the tool of progress and evolving our experiential aesthetic world. Everything needs to be designed from our airplane interiors to our shampoo bottles to our money – from our everyday household items to our mobile phones, from light switches to our urban landscapes. We need to beautify this planet in every aspect, in every corner of the earth. Today especially, design must prove its’ worth and address the inhuman built environment to give us elevated, more pleasurable, more qualitative, aesthetic humanized seamless conditions. Design must evolve us – and create a beautification and betterment for society. In that respect design is needed more than ever! We should focus on how we can make our world more beautiful, more sustainable, more functional, more fluid.
Are there things that people are looking for design to deliver on more so today than earlier in the decade?
Today consumers want their products to be multi functioning, highly sustainable, biodegradable, technological, and beautiful. Once design was a visual or ornamental profession, then it became also tactile and functional, now it has become emotional, poetic, and personal. I see the future of our aesthetic world crossing all the aesthetic disciplines so that design, art, architecture, fashion, food, music, fuse together to increase our experiences and bring greater pleasure to our material and immaterial lives. Design is about revisiting and evolving our culture and physical landscape. Innovation is inseparable from design. It is not about trends, it is not about problem solving, it is not about just form or just function, – it is about progress and evolving our experiential aesthetic world.
What has caught your eye recently that you’ve found inspiring?
I am inspired by everything ALL THE TIME. The world is an exciting stimulating place but in the middle of the night in my bed is when everything becomes clear. Everything can be inspiring. It is how you look at the world. I have a very critical view of the world, but an optimistic one. I am inspired by my childhood, my family, my education, by all my teachers I have ever had, by every project I have worked on, by every city I have traveled to, by every book I have read, by every exhibition I have seen, by every song I have heard, by every smell, every taste, every sight, sound, and feeling. I am most inspired by this world in which I am present now momentarily.
Thank you to Karim for taking time to talk with us.