Book List of the Week

Everything You Can Imagine: Karim Rashid’s Book List

By Steve Kroeter November 15, 2011

Karim Rashid

Product and interior designer Karim Rashid: KARIM Rashid Inc. (New York)

Book list

Prolific is a word that is frequently used to describe the designer Karim Rashid, and it’s easy to see why. His practice areas include home and office furnishings, personal accessories, furniture, lighting, interior design, packaging, fashion, graphics, exhibition design, identity programs, and various art media. Over 3,000 of his designs have been put into production for those on his client roster—a list that numbers more than 200, operating in over 35 countries on five continents. His Garbo waste can for the home accessories company Umbra has sold more than 7 million units. He has won more than 300 awards. Fourteen museums have his work in their permanent collections.

Sketch: Karim, 2011 (Frame Publishers)

He is also the author of six books. His latest, Sketch: Karim (Frame Publishers), is due out in the U. S. in December.

The 262-word statement of his philosophy—or, his “Karimanifesto,” —as he calls it—can fairly neatly be summed up in eight: “Every business should be completely concerned with beauty.” Why? “It is a collective human need” that releases people from “the meaningless” and promotes “changes in human nature.” It is a huge  and hopeful goal, echoed in the title of his 2001 book, I Want to Change the World (Rizzoli/Universe).

The book list that Rashid sent to Designers & Books reflects a breadth and richness of interests. Perhaps surprisingly, though, the list includes not even one “traditional” design book. Instead there are art books, books of essays (on topics like phenomenology), science fiction, one or two business books, and autobiographies.

In his comment about Miles: The Autobiography Rashid says “I love autobiographies and this book in particular.” He finds Miles Davis’s life, which was “full of discipline, perseverance, hard work,” but “at the same time contradicted by heroin abuse, cars, women, and tragedy”—to be “a metaphor for jazz itself.” The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B and Back Again) Rashid appreciates for Warhol’s “perceptiveness on life, sex, food, culture, money, fame, and even art. A “very inspiring, funny, and pragmatic” book that he says he could read “over and over.”

In The Order of Things, Rashid says that author Michel Foucault uses “language, art, and politics and everything you can imagine” to study knowledge. Offering the strongest possible argument for books and reading, Rashid says: “This is a brilliant book that altered the way I saw life. I feel I owe my career to his writing.”

Since books have played such a pivotal role for him, we asked Rashid if there are any bookstores he particularly likes to visit. His current favorite? The Taschen store in Miami Beach, Florida, designed by Philippe Starck—in the 1111 Lincoln Road parking structure by Herzog & de Meuron.

comments powered by Disqus