The Chicago Athenaeum has announced Karim Rashid as this year's Laureate of the prestigious American Prize for Design. A citizen of the world, Rashid was born in Egypt in 1960, educated in Canada, and now based in New York. The designer is famous for his futuristic pop appeal that he has instilled into his design creations.
"Design is my lifelong hobby," Rashid stated. "Design is something that can be so emotional, so experiential, so romantic, so poetic, and so human and yet constantly moves us forward. We must evolve, we must innovate, and we must change. I want to change the physical world."
With more than 4,000 designs in production, nearly 300 awards to his name, and client work in over 40 countries, Karim's ability to transcend typology continues to make him a force among designers of his generation. At age 60, Rashid has designed on his own 111 tabletop projects, 59 graphic designs, 46 works of fashion, 306 furniture projects, 34 buildings, 71 lighting designs, 27 hotels, 232 household products, 76 packaging projects, 19 residential designs, 35 architectural materials projects, 102 interiors, and 93 exhibitions. More than 3,000 objects in total.
"What stands out," said Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, President of The Chicago Athenaeum, "is that the man is driven. Scratch that. Hyper-driven. At any given point in time, he's got a dizzying array of projects going all over the globe. Just following his twitter feed is exhausting. The man is PRO-LIF-IC.
"I don't even know how to stretch the powers of punctuation to emphasize that enough. Entering the mad design world of Karim Rashid is like being trapped inside a gigantic, rotating kaleidoscope, where the turning and twisting of bits of colored materials between two flat plates against two plane mirrors produce an endless variety of crazed patterns and dizzying possibilities."
Each year, The American Prize for Design is awarded jointly by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies to designers who have made a commitment to forward the principles of design excellence within the context of our contemporary society and who elevated design to a more a profound humanist statement about how our modern contemporary society can advance and progress as a result.
Given in conjunction with the Museum's historic GOOD DESIGN Awards, which were founded in Chicago in 1950, this Prize honors a specific design practitioner with the highest pubic accolade for producing designs that promotes design excellence, innovation, and lasting design.
Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Athenaeum