Karim Rashid: “It's interesting to create things that make you experience ecstasy”

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Citizen of the world and pop design star Karim Rashid continues to strive to completely change our imperfect world and is therefore active in a wide variety of areas: from art and fashion to architectural projects. He told ARTANDHOUSES what he is ready to consider a luxury, whether national style traditions are needed today and how he sees his new Moscow project.

Has your approach to design changed over the years? Have you changed yourself?

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Throughout my thirty-year career, I have had to master new materials, new methods of production, new technologies. I believe that technological innovation is inseparable from design itself, and I am always interested in discussing the achievements of the digital era, I have always wanted to create a new language of the information space that allows us to “translate” digital into analog, conventional binary code into something tangible and, ultimately, high technologies into craft.

Designers must create forms that are conditioned by much broader and rather fluid concepts such as culture, sociology, politics. When I create something new, I consider emotionality, human experience, performance, production efficiency. I evaluate the durability of the product, its environmental friendliness, social aspects, the recommended price level, and much, much more. I also have to constantly remember the need to proportion objects with a person. But I always stay within the framework of my philosophy of sensual minimalism – softness, comfort, humanity, bright, but not too complex character.

Sofas from the series & # 171; Ottawa & # 187; for Bo Concept

What is modern luxury? Can it really be relevant in modern design?

For me, luxury is free time, ease of emotions, absence of everyday problems and the need to wait, and not real gold in decoration and piece handwork. We must move away from outdated notions of luxury and embrace a truly new aesthetics, new forms, new materials, a new language, more organic and in tune with the world in which we live today. Production technologies today have become so complex and sophisticated, so automated that a machine is able to do a job better than a human hand. It turns out cheaper and better. A wristwatch that costs 40 euros today can be more accurate than a Rolex? Can cheap jeans from H & amp; M be better quality than a 350 Euro pair from a luxury store? Mass production in the digital age has created “democratic” luxury and has truly changed the old-fashioned notion of wealth. We have entered the era of the commonplace, that is, our life is focused on comfort, simplicity, lightness and technology. This everyday life has determined the form of spaces in which the boundaries of the virtual and the real are blurred, comfort becomes luxurious, and new ideas about comfort conquer.

Modern technologies, 3D printers, for example, have somehow changed the situation with mass and collectible design?

I rented the first 3D printer back in 1999 when the technology was in its infancy, and since then we have always had a few of them in the studio. During this time, I have made hundreds of prototypes and models using 3D printers. People like to think that design is driven by some external factors and trends, but in fact, it is technology that pushes forward. Industrial design is developed by designers who possess new technologies, be it the composition of materials, production methods or technical inventions. For millennia we have been analog and only in the last 30 years have we become digital. The analog world was static and unchanging. Digital is lightweight and temporary. I remember how sociologists talked about how computers destroy humanity in us, but in fact the opposite happened. We have never been so interested in other people before.

Table Lamps & # 171; Toot & # 187; for Kundalini

Still, handicraft and artisan skills are leaving our lives, at least in some way are they important to you?

There is no contradiction here. My latest collections for Venetian Gold, Purho and Riva1920 combine the highest level of craftsmanship with state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques.

How important are national trends in design and architecture in the context of globalization? Is it worth resisting the erasure of boundaries and differences, or has the global peace already won?

I am a man of the world. I love all countries, and work inevitably reflects all my experience and the whole world around me. Looking at a location, cultural foundations means looking back, but I am interested in looking only forward. The world is truly becoming one, and I love this unification because it enables all of us to seek inspiration in any culture, in any person, in any place, at any time. But at the same time, everything that is in our heads, blood, our memory and experience will still be reflected in everything we do. And this is the necessary combination for meaningful and beautiful work.

It is important for me to be a part of this common world, because globalization has opened up all the diversity of the human person. This is very important, because, after all, cultures create boundaries, inculcate prejudices and provoke bigotry. And as soon as our world unites, we begin to care more about it, we interact with everyone, we mix, and, I think, soon we will have a single global culture, the basis of which will be independent minds, not limited by issues of race, religion or other dogmas. … We live in a world in which the boundaries between all creative disciplines are blurred, they freely merge and interbreed. This is why my creative principles are the same and independent of the country I work in.

Fixtures & # 171; Flik light & # 187; for Purho

Don't you think the conventional Scandinavian design approach is too strong today? How close are these soft textures, restrained colors, natural materials and minimalistic shapes to you?

Design is respected in the Scandinavian countries and has become an integral part of the cultural code. I also try to think in the same direction and make my things minimalistic, but sensual, technological, human, innovative, practical. The Scandinavian style is very sensual and organic, and I think that several Scandinavian companies I work with perceive my work as close in spirit.

The Japanese approach to design seems to be the opposite of yours, yet you name not only Italian but also Japanese designers among your idols. What attracts you to Japanese design?

The Japanese tend to go from nature. And I do the same. For me, the best design is the human body. And like the work of many Japanese designers, my pieces can be characterized by the purity of color and form, which I call sensual minimalism. Within this style, I try to create iconic, recognizable products and packaging, with light, minimalist graphics. Japan has long been considered the most progressive country in the world, I worked a lot with the Japanese at the beginning of my career, then their view of the future was broader. You can describe it as a “techno-organic”. I love Japan and would like to work more there.

Series & # 171; Cristal & # 187; for Argenesi

Is it difficult for you, an artist, to exist in this not at all ideal world that you want to completely change?

Well, of course! There is so much bad design around that gets in the way, adds stress, complicates things, and doesn't bring beauty to our world. I am interested in creating things that make you experience ecstasy. Our life literally soars when we experience beauty, comfort, luxury, showiness and practicality at the same time. Furniture and objects should appeal to our emotions, increasing the value of imagination and experience. This is good design. And it is the emotional objects that also absorb new technologies that do not go out of fashion and are most appreciated.

But if you change everything, are you not afraid that ordinary people will quickly get tired of the world completely created by designers?

The whole world must become a product of design! And we will always remain people with our own preferences and choices. The challenge is to create things that resonate in the soul. I still want to show everyone that our real world can be warm, soft, humane and enjoyable. Design, like music, literature, visual arts, is socially significant and should be discussed and used. And now in the public consciousness it should be kept in mind that good design is able to change people's behavior, make them taller and improve the social environment in the same way as other forms of art do. In this context, I am a preacher of the idea of ​​changing the future and the formation of cultural foundations with the help of design. Design has a huge impact on our daily life and can change a person for the better.

Series & # 171; Sestante & # 187; for Matteo Grassi

Is there some kind of confrontation between mass design and collectible design? How do these two sectors interact today?

I believe that any hierarchy will soon disappear, and I create democratic things on the verge of different typologies. During my studies in Italy, Ettore Sottsass advised me to be less of an artist in order to become a great designer. I put his vases and the work of the Memphis group in my place to always remember this. There is no need to mix the roles of an artist and a designer, these are different hypostases: art is always selfish, and design is democratic. I do both and I love both. Let design inspire my artistic pursuits and vice versa. But I always remember that design has social, political and economic aspects. Design is “the art of real-world tasks,” and creativity is not enough for it. A design product has many practical questions to answer: usability, performance, aesthetics, manufacturing process, sustainability of materials, marketing, distribution, and so on. And the more accurately we designers fit into the world of commerce, the more meaningful the work becomes. Design gives physical form to our utopian notions of everyday life. I love life, I love design, I appreciate music and art, and I love people passionately!

Apart-hotel & # 171; Hill 8 & # 187; designed by Karim Rashid's studio and ABD Architects Moscow bureau  Aparthotel & # 171; Hill 8 & # 187; designed by Karim Rashid's studio and ABD Architects Moscow bureau  Aparthotel & # 171; Hill 8 & # 187; designed by Karim Rashid's studio and ABD Architects Moscow bureau  Apart-hotel & # 171; Hill 8 & # 187; designed by Karim Rashid's studio and ABD Architects Moscow bureau

And the last but important question: why do you expect from a new Moscow project?

Over the past 14 years, I have visited Moscow about 40 times and I can say that it has radically changed in this time. Over the years, I have watched the dominant style change from neo-baroque and kitsch to modernity. But the city needs more time to modernize. I am happy to do my bit and give something completely modern to the cityscape of Moscow. My proposal for the Hill 8 project (apart-hotel on Prospekt Mira, 95, a joint work of Karim Rashid's studio and the Moscow bureau ABD Architects. – ARTANDHOUSES ) is very optimistic and at the same time pacifying, with a calm energy. This kind of humanistic minimalism, playing on all senses and painting a better world.

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