Globetrotting design star Karim Rashid was born in Cairo, grew up in Toronto and graduated from design school in the nation’s capital, the city he commemorates with the Ottawa Collection, a modernist furniture line created for Danish retailer BoConcept and sold around the world (including, as of last month, Canada).
Today, home for Rashid is New York City, where the 51-year-old industrial designer lives with his Serbian wife, Ivana, in a Chelsea loft purchased eight years ago and thoroughly renovated over six months to create a large, open space accommodating a kitchen, dining area and living room. The latter is Rashid’s favourite room, a testing ground where he likes to experiment with the decor, forever altering it.
“I was brought up with my father changing and moving around the furniture and paintings in our family home every month and I find I have the same habit,” he says. “Most of the furniture here was designed by me for various companies, mostly Italian. Generally, we change the furniture three to four times a year, switching around new prototypes, old ones and production pieces, like a revolving, ongoing gallery.”
The multi-patterned sofa
“My Meritalia Matrix modular couch is fantastic. It’s made of rectangular blocks of foam in varying densities and is very comfortable. Most mornings you will find me here working and sending e-mails to my staff, clients and journalists across the globe.”
The pink flooring and carpet
“We used pink Lonseal Lonmetro UV flooring in the living room, office and kitchen. I rotate the area carpets depending on what new samples I get in the office.”
“The TV was a gift from Samsung for designing a home around their televisions. A crew of 50 people took over my old loft in New York for over a week, stripping it down to the bare bones, which we then redecorated totally inspired by the televisions.”
The orange love seat and hot pink ottoman
“I always say: Use colour to express yourself. Don’t be afraid of a bright orange couch. Paint your wall lime green. Be brave when it comes to carpets, countertops and tables. Colour is beautiful and it’s all about self-expression. Be yourself. Some may think my designs are quite wild but when placed together they are vibrant yet very relaxing.”
The black chair
“The Swing chair is still one of my most iconic designs and it stands out as the most comfortable chair I’ve ever designed. It has been a staple in my home decor since I designed it. I’ve lived with baby-pink Swing chairs, with white Swing chairs and now I’m into this black Swing chair with white zipper. I couldn’t live without it.”
The dining set
“The 14-foot-long custom-made dining table was designed for Abet Laminati Italy’s Triennale exhibition at Milan’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile. I created a full house clad in laminate surfacing with hexagonal rooms and changing-colour windows. This was one of the pieces from that show.”