Karim Rashid was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1960; half English, half Egyptian and raised mostly in Canada. He received a Bachelor of Industrial Design in 1982 from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He pursued graduate design studies in Naples, Italy, with Ettore Sottsass and others, then moved to Milan for one year at the Rodolfo Bonetto Studio. On his return to Canada, he worked for seven years with KAN Industrial Designers. While at KAN, he also co-founded and designed the Babel Fashion Collection and North from 1985-91.
He opened his own studio in New York City in 1993. He has worked for numerous clients globally such as Nambé, Umbra, Idèe, Prada, Yahoo!, Edra, Foscarini, Zero Disegno, Method Home, Issey Miyake, Totem, Pure Design, Zeritalia, Fasem, Guzzini, Estee Lauder, Tommy Hilfiger, Giorgio Armani, Sony, Magis, Edra, Leonardo, Zanotta, Maybelline, George Kovacs, Citibank, Nienkamper, YSL, and others.
His awards include the I.D. Magazine’s Annual Design Review Awards (3 categories) 2002, IDEA Gold and Silver Awards 2002, The Star Award from the International Interior Design Association 2002, Design Distinction Canadian Design Hero 2001; Daimler Chrysler 1999 Award; George Nelson Award 1999; The Silver IDEA Award 1999; The Philadelphia Museum of Art Collaboration Award 1999; The Brooklyn Museum of Art Designer of the Year 1998; Design Effectiveness Gold Award 2001, and 1999; ID Magazine Annual Review Design Distinction in 1999 (Best of Packaging Category and two distinction awards), 1998 (3 design distinction awards),1993 (1 award), 1991(1 award), and honorable mention in 2000, 1997 & 1994; Good Design Award Chicago Athenaeum 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995; 18 Canadian Virtu Awards from 1985-00; and 30 UNDER 30 (1989) among others.
Karim has just been awarded the 2003 Design Distinction Award for ID Magazine’s Annual Design Review, as well as store of the year for 2003 by the National Association of Store Fixture Manufacturers.
I.D. Magazine's Annual Design Review Awards 2003 (2 categories) and Esquire Magazine's 100 Best Awards for Best Restaurant Design; Morimoto.
He has over 70 objects in permanent collections and his design work has been exhibited at:
- the Philadelphia Museum of Art,
- Museum of Modern Art, New York,
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,
- Chicago Athenaeum, Chicago,
- Wexner Center, Columbus, Ohio,
- Museum of Decorative Arts, Montreal,
- Toronto Design Exchange, Toronto,
- Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, NYC,
- The Israeli Museum, New York,
- The British Design Museum, London,
- Emily Carr Museum, Vancouver,
- Tokyo Gas, Tokyo,
- Miami Museum of Contemporary Art,
- The Design Center at Philadelphia University,
- The Groningen Museum, Holland among others.