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Karim Rashid

Stepping away from conventions, Karim Rashid takes a fresh and wholly unexpected approach to design. His work represents a new era in contemporary style. Born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1960, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, in 1982, then studied with Ettore Sottsass in Naples, Italy. These early experiences set the stage for the many professional endeavors that followed. He codeveloped Babel Fashion Collection and North in 1985 before opening his own design studio in 1992. His work spans industries; he designed an Issey Miyake handbag, crafted bowls made of titanium plastic for Umbra and collaborated with Sony to create artwork for their limited-edition Xperia Arc S smartphone. Among his most famous designs are the beloved Umbra Garbo trashcan, which is a simple and subtle wastebasket known for its delicate curves and vibrant colors, and the Umbra Oh Chair, an understated yet striking piece made with plastic and bright paint. His furniture is made of everything from ceramic to wood to glass, and he’s predisposed to using eco-friendly elements that are fully recyclable. The result is impressive: shapely bar stools add character to game rooms, armchairs stand out in vibrant hues and sofas feature intriguing modular limbs. There is also a multitude of accessories, like lamps and planters, that add to the line’s playful, often futuristic and always subversive vibe. He has won many prestigious accolades for his designs, including the ISDA Industrial Design Excellence Award, the Chicago Athenaeum Good Design Award and the Red Dot.