Award-winning industrial designer Karim Rashid was dubbed the Poet of Plastic by a German design retailer. His work is featured in 20 permanent collections and he exhibits art in galleries worldwide. This weekend, Rashid will speak at Vancouver’s Interior Design Show West (IDSwest) at the New Vancouver Convention Centre.
Are you adjusting your designs for today’s needs?
Bobble, a product I designed, is a water bottle with a built-in filter. It’s designed to do away with buying bottles of water. So one of these little bottles that costs you $10 will last you 300 fill-ups of water, meaning you won’t have to buy 300 (plastic) bottles. Bottled water’s become outrageous. I was travelling with the prototype in Milan, or London, or Moscow and I’d just fill up with tap water. And here I am in these hotels where they’re charging me 10 euros for a bottle of water.
Are you designing for the digital medium?
No, I’m actually very obsessed with the material world. I think also that I need to kind of elevate the physical world and make it as exciting, and as seductive, and as beautiful, and as pleasurable, and as experiential as the digital age.
Can a physical experience be made of that digital world?
Yeah. It’s fascinating that you can just video-Skype, for free, anybody in the world. So, in the physical world, what can we do there to make us feel alive, and make us feel part of this moment in time?
Is that what you’re trying to achieve with your designs?
I think so. We’re losing physical things because we don’t really need them anymore, which is amazing. The physical things we do have should be better. Can we make our lives more seamless and end up having better lives because we have more time? The ultimate luxury is free time.
If you could give one design recommendation, what would it be?
It’s really just to embrace being, existence. Be alive. And to be alive, you really need to be in a contemporary world. When people go into the domestic home and they buy some wood spindle chairs that look like they’re from the 1800s with, like, a fake baroque chandelier, it has nothing to do with the time you live in. We need to embrace and live this moment in time. We are alive now.