Meeting Karim Rashid, nhow Berlin designer

By Sergio González | 10:20

Nhow Berlin designer and his smart creation, the iIamo go


Karim Rashid is a profilic artist –more than 3000 original crafts are credited to this industrial designer– awarded every year worldwide for his bold creations. Karim is one of those geniuses that simply spends all his time putting his inspiration to work to always dream beyond.

Born in Egypt but raised and educated in UK, Canada and Italy, this globalized fusion makes Karim offer an international avant-garde liking in sculpture, furniture and architecture that attracts the most discerning palates.

Top names such as Samsung, Citibank, Hugo Boss or Audi have trusted Karim to design their brands and all sorts of sophisticated facilities and high-tech products, some of which are permanent collection of the MOMA NY and Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Let’s see what he says about his partnership with us when he raised up nhow Berlin, a unique concept of accommodation that only could have happened in Berlin, the European beacon of modernity. So trendy that if you aren’t here now you miss it.

You’re famous for having a preference for powerful colors, whether to wear them or to cheer up your creations.

Color is very inspiring to me and I really don’t like the idea that the majority of the world is afraid of color and are very conservative.

Do you get inspiration from the same sources or do they change?

I find inspiration to be accumulative, there’s always a storm of ideas and influences that come into play. Every project has its’ own criteria which in itself is inspiring. In fact the more criteria or restrictions, the more creative I am. 

I am also inspired by the hundreds of countries I have been too, the culture, the people, and the life. I am very passionate, focused, and perpetually inspired by the shrinking world, technology, and the desirous human spirit.

My work is the result of my vision, close collaboration with clients and a strong team of designers who help me manifest my concepts.

Which is the design you will always remember? 

All of them. The good the bad and the ugly.

You create all sorts of stuff, from fashion jewelry to ergonomic sofas or public spaces.

 I have designed products for over 30 years, and only interior spaces for 10, hence I love the larger experiential impact an interior can have on people’s lives.

I derive tremendous happiness from product design, because each object has the potential to connect with the consumer, and to bring them pleasure on an everyday basis.

With hospitality design or public space, I know that masses of people have access to my designs and they aren’t just looking at it, they are physically immersing themselves inside my concepts.

I recently started designing buildings. This is an incredibly exciting new frontier for me. I have the power to affect them on a social level.

Where do you think design is going?

I prefer design that transcends fashionable trends and to work towards searching for new vernaculars that echo out Technorganic digital world.

The world is shrinking and the same forms, concepts, and ideas are becoming very derivative.

The design world can be somewhat myopic and insular, following trends. In my work I try to pull from everyday life, from the beautiful unification of our borderless world and my own vision, which is a kind of pluralism that is focused on contemporary human needs and desires.

“I am I plus my surroundings” is a famous quote from Ortega y Gasset, a visionary Spanish philosopher from 20th century. Do you agree? Do you think the way we design our cities, houses and objects has a word with our happiness?

Absolutely! Human beings touch an average of 600 objects a day. The potential for those objects to benefit the everyday human experience is immense.

I preach about how design shapes the future. I believe that design is extremely consequential to our daily lives and can positively change behaviors.

Industrial Design is a socially interactive and responsible process that is greater than the physical form itself; its result is manifested in aesthetic forms.

The Karimanifesto on your website sings for a poetical and emotional betterment of our lives in a brighter future. How can design help us get there?

Design is the modus operandis for moving society forward.

Design is about experience, not just visceral or visual, but tactile, emotional and omni-sensorial.  I try to approach everything I design to be accessible, sensual, casual and most importantly beautiful.

But beauty is defined as the inner and outer being inseparable, meaning the function and material form are one.

Beautifying the world, and creating well designed, provocative, stimulating yet calming products and environments is the impetus for everything I embark on.

Nhow Berlin Hall. The pink bubbles at the bottom? The Reception!

What do you like when staying in a hotel? What makes you come back the next time you are in the town?

I need spacious well planned rooms, contemporary, minimal, clean, bright, with beautiful functioning bathrooms.

I love warm weather locations with rooftop pools and invigorating gyms and spas. Bigger isn’t always better – sometimes the small boutique hotels can offer really good personal service.

There are so many banal conventions in hotels. Why do I need a big armchair in a room if it is going to obstruct my view or is just too big for its location? I find I am always rearranging all the furniture in rooms.

They just repeat trends and poor details.

The hotel is a multisensory environment where everything means something to our senses. Karim, how do you want nhow Berlin guests to feel like?

Set on the Spree River, the old line between East and West Berlin, the nhow bridges the digital age of information, the vivid music culture, and the physical and spiritual needs of visitors. I couldn’t have been more excited to work on a project of this scale in Berlin.

Berlin embodies the spirit of the underground, the dark school of electronic music, the harsh yet intellectual environment, the massiveness, and the desirous need for artistic pursuit.

nhow Berlin couldn’t be described without talking about music. Why is rhythm so important?

Music is immaterial design. I often listen to music while I’m working. If I’m not designing and listening to my iPod on a plane -or olive opus in the office- then the satellite radio is always on in my studio.

Music affords me to concentrate, be inspired, dream, imagine, and become completely engrossed in what I am working on. It is an essential part of my being. 

Connectivity is easy and everywhere in the hotel Are you interested in social media? Do you use any?

I am a digital boy. I have been using technology to design since 1986 and always believed in the digital age.

And absolutely! I am on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook for 5 years -and was on MySpace for 8. In fact Facebook has been a fantastic democratic tool for keeping me close to fans, journalists, new clients and the world as a whole. 

Has nhow Berlin inspired any of your other creations?

nhow Berlin is so perfect in its execution that it has driven me to strive for the best in so many of my projects since.

The sense of awe and beauty in the hotel is really palpable and has certainly inspired all of my interiors to come.

I like that through the process of nhow -even when the budgets were cut in half- I managed to make a unique, inspiring project that people seem to love.

I realized that design is a social agenda meant to please people, to shape more interesting and better lives for everyday life. nhow accomplished that perfectly.





  • posted by Daffi Will | 08 December 2012, 8:38,

    I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. many thanks.

    Black Hotel

  • posted by Courtney Imel | 08 December 2012, 17:04,

    Hi! Thanks for the comment! We use WordPress for our blog. Let us know if you have any questions! 🙂


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