Weekend Five: Karim Rashid on His IQOS Cases, Hotels and Lollipops

Famed for endless creativity and endless collaborations, legendary lover of color Karim Rashid has been hard at work with Phillip Morris and Magna Pars to create a site-specific installation for the launch of IQOS’ latest case patterns during Salone del Mobile. Here, FashionRepublik.com talks to Karim Rashid on his latest collaborations, his colorful future, a new Pop Up store set to open this September,  his 476-room hotel in Amsterdam… and much more.

Tell us about the installation you designed for IQOS.

Together with Phillip Morris and in cooperation with Magna Pars, we recently showed an anti-ordinary installation to celebrate the launch of five new original case patterns for the revolutionary IQOS.

The site-specific sculpture, Konverse, is an abstract depiction of two people in profile meeting one another. It symbolizes human connection. The IQOS is an intimate device that speaks to forward-thinking and original expression. Therefore, the user is someone who shares this vision, and is invested in the flow of ideas. Much like the IQOS, the Konverse sculpture speaks to intimacy, human scale, and the human condition; a true meeting of the minds.

You are known for the fresh colors you use in all your designs, can you tell us why color is so powerful? We can also see them in the new Iqos case.
I think people aren’t sold color, so they don’t expect to buy color. 90% of people are going to buy the color on display rather than use their imagination to visualize the other options. The beauty of this vibrant life is the broad diversity and choice we have.

With so many designs and collaborations under your belt, how do you distinguish one from another?
I am interested in showing the world how a contemporary physical world can be warm, soft, human, and pleasurable. Each product has its own set of criteria and needs, be it production, manufacturing, usage, emotion, etc. Design is about working with contemporary criteria to shape our future human experiences. Hence it is about working with industry to create quality, betterment, and evolving us forward.

Recently you’ve designed work with Maiori and what does the Kose collection entail?

The Kose collection consists of a stacking café armchair and convertible table that address the requirements for both indoor and outdoor use. The chair is lightweight, comfortable, and resistant to the elements. The collection boasts unique blob-shaped perforations in its powder-coated steel form, allowing for water to flow through the chair and tabletop rather than accumulate on top.

How would you describe Maiori philosophy and how does it fit in with yours?
Maiori and I both believe in iconic, minimal silhouettes that serve elegance while remaining affordable. Design must be more about contemporary culture and less about style and trend.

Take us through the design process of the Maori pieces.
Maiori gave me a brief that called me to create a collection that represented both firmness and flexibility. The products are sturdy but can still be re-imagined and reworked for myriad needs. Maiori is very forward thinking so together we were able to create designs that represent the now.

Are you working on anything else right now or in the near future?
I’m just opened another condo in Miami for Related called Paraiso Bay as well as another Prizeotel in Hamburg. And my 476-room hotel in Amsterdam is set to open in a month.

Right now I’m working on Pop Up store for a French shoe brand which will come to NYC in September, new bottles with Hip, wardrobes for a Polish client, new lighting with Axo Light, lollipops and chocolates for a Turkish brand, a retail complex in Saudi Arabia, interiors of hotels in Norway, an office interior in India, and a fantastic modern condo in Moscow, among other projects, including glassware for a Polish company, a new sunchaise for Tonik and a large collection of hospitality furniture.

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