Hot design: ACHICA Living catches up with Karim Rashid

Karim Rashid has designed over 3000 products, for clients as diverse as Alessi, Artemide, and Method, the eco cleaning brand. He’s known for smooth curves, bright colours and a sense of fun. His latest project is a range of furniture for BoConcept called the Ottawa Collection. He lives with his wife in Chelsea. ACHICA Living catches up with Karim Rashid here...

Your home is famously full of colour, as well as your own products. What do your friends think when they come over?

I surround myself with everything I’ve made – the oven, the flatware, the sofas…95% of what is in my apartment was designed by me. People think it's egocentric but it makes sense – if you designed a tape dispenser wouldn’t you put it on your desk and use it?! Plus it inspires me to be better – if I sit on a chair and think that it should have been two inches deeper, I’ll know what to do next time. As for all the colours, I find the pink floor uplifting, though I’m aware it’s not to everyone’s taste.  My advice is that you should fill your home with as many bright shades as you can bare – it’s so much more interesting. That palette is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.

So, you’ve just turned 50 but are still designing as prolifically as ever. What drives you to carry on?

I discovered I had cancer last year [Karim has since been given the all clear] and it was a real wake up call – this has been the first time in my life I’ve decided to slow down, and start to realise that I’ve got to a place in my life I never thought I’d be. As a child I used to read about Eames and Le Corbusier but you never dream you could one day be a designer yourself. Anyway, I realised that what has kept me going all these years is a real passion for what I do, and whilst I’m starting to work less hard, that is what drives me forward.

What does design mean to you?

Design is a way to shape the future. Fashion tends to look backwards for inspiration – the current trend for 1920s-looking clothes has nothing to do with how we live now. Designers should be thinking about a shoe that you can slip off easily as you go through an X-ray machine at the airport, moving things forward. Ultimately, it should help make the world a better place to live.

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Pip McCormac, Guest Editor

View all posts by Pip McCormac, Guest Editor