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Karim Rashid in Singapore

Yesterday I went to the Karim Rashid talk, or should I say 'show', at NUS. This is the first time I've seen an industrial designer command such a rock star status. The talk itself was different. He spoke impromptu for an hour, covering topics like 'what is design?', 'what is beauty', and 'who is the designer?'. While he was talking, the large screen behind him beamed a slideshow of his 500+ products. This I thought was very clever. The slideshow gave him opportunities to stop, look over, pick a design and then talk about it.

The one image I took away from the show was of the immense confidence Karim had about himself and his environment. It looked like nothing can stop this person from doing what he wants. I think all this has to do with the range of experiences he's had over the last 20 or so years designing products for different companies.

But there are two more angles to this, which I think is what differentiates a Karim Rashid from the hundreds of other IDs toiling away in different levels of obscurity. First, he has created his own signature when it comes to creativity and innovation around mass produced items. And second, he knows how to communicate and work the media.

It seems that experience alone is not enough. While many of us treat experience as a historical after thought, Karim, I think, likes to treat experience as something he'd like to pass through in the future.

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