Egyptian-Canadian industrial designer Karim Rashid
Garbo waste bin: The shape of the precisely placed handles subtly highlights its position, designed elegantly, as is the bulbous body that improves the filling capacity, while at the same time creating an aesthetically pleasing object
Oh chair: The moulded polypropylene seat atop powder-coated steel legs by Karim Rashid is a modern design that works for indoors or outdoors

“Brazil an important player in the transformed plastics sector”, says renowned industrial designer

Plastics objects that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing

Egyptian-Canadian industrial designer Karim Rashid presented an eye-opening lecture on innovation and design in the plastics industry at the 3rd World Plastic Connection Summit in Brazil.

“I love being back in São Paulo, this amazing city and watching how much they invest in technologies for converted plastics. With this event, Brazil shows that it is an important player in the transformed plastics sector,” he said.

Rashid is known for his philosophy that good design should be accessible to everyone, and he often aims to create affordable and mass-produced products, many of them in plastics, that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

“Over the years I have crafted many products with plastic, from small to large scale. I’ve worked with packaging and industrial design, then furniture design, wallpapers, floors, and architecture. In all this time, the most important thing for me has always been knowing the suitable material to use in my pieces, and which would last longer.

“I was raised to be concerned about the environment. During my degree, I designed products and thought about their entire lifecycle from beginning to end. This care ended up being part of my life, of who I am, of my nature,” he added.

He is renowned for his industrial design because of his unique and innovative approach to creating functional and aesthetically pleasing products. He is known for his distinctive and bold design style characterized by vibrant colours, organic shapes, and fluid lines. His designs often incorporate elements of minimalism and futurism, creating a visually striking and contemporary look.

Rashid has an extensive and diverse portfolio of work, ranging from furniture and lighting to consumer electronics and home accessories. His ability to work across different product categories showcases his versatility and adaptability as a designer. In four decades, the artist, who has over 4 000 projects in production and more than 300 awards, has made durable, beautiful, original products that offer real solutions and use less raw materials.

He places a strong emphasis on the user experience in his designs and seeks to create products that are not only visually appealing but also functional and user-friendly. This focus on usability and ergonomics has contributed to the success of many of his designs.

His willingness to experiment with new materials and manufacturing techniques sets him apart from other industrial designers. Rashid often incorporates advanced materials and technology into his designs, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in terms of form and function.

Rashid uses recycled materials whenever he can. “When you sit down and start designing, first of all, you have to think about what you are responsible for doing on that project. You need to consider which materials you will choose, which production method, and so on, to take care of the environment.”

Rashid’s work has been recognized and exhibited globally and he has received numerous design awards and accolades, further establishing his reputation as a leading figure in industrial design. His designs have had a significant impact on popular culture, appearing in movies, television shows, and fashion. His iconic creations, such as the “Garbo” waste can and the “Oh Chair,” have become design classics.

Overall, Karim Rashid’s innovative and boundary-pushing approach to industrial design, coupled with his focus on user experience and his unique design aesthetic, have made him a prominent and influential figure in the world of design.