At this year's excellent British Institute of Interior Design Annual Conference, held at the Royal Geographical Society, GS was given the rare opportunity to interview Karim Rashid. Karim is one of the most prolific designers of his generation. He has over 3000 designs in production, over 300 awards and is working in over 40 countries. His diversity affords him the ability to cross-pollinate ideas, materials, behaviours, aesthetics from one typology to the next, crossing boundaries and broadening consumer horizons.
The following are extracts from the interview, which appears in full in the current edition of GS Magazine.
"Technology is inseparable now from our existence. It used to be a desire, it's now a need. So the hospitality industry should be embracing it. Today we have this interesting situation where technology is here for everyone, we're looking at screens seven and a half hours a day and connecting with the whole world. And yet there are parts of society that are almost afraid of embracing the digital age at all I think the restaurant industry is behind in this area.
"There are so many banal conventions in hotels. I cannot stay in old hotels or antiquated simulations. They give me nightmares. There is too much furniture or awkward pieces in rooms. Why do I need a big armchair in a room if it is going to obstruct my view? I dislike bowls that are sitting on counters as sinks since water splashes everywhere; this is an old Shaker design that is strictly style and does not work. I dislike curtains, a cheap trick. I also do not understand hard corners and dangerous edges. The mistake from the business end of hospitality is that it's driven by style but not by design. Style is when you decorate, when you borrow ideas from the past. Hotels continue to focus on style, not on relevant design.
"With hotels, what we used to do is walk into the lobby and the lounge, soak up the atmosphere and get a feel of what the hotel is all about. But now, what we tend to do is walk into the hotel and try to get a signal for our mobile devices! So today, even when we're inside the hotel, we're spending fifty percent of our time experiencing somewhere else, in a virtual space away from the hotel. Designers need to figure out how to get guests to engage more with the hotel; to make the physical experience compete with the virtual experience that guests are connecting to.
"I love the larger experiential impact a hotel can have on peoples' lives. With hotels I design from micro to macro (from the lamp to the bed to the interior to the architecture). I believe guests should have a temporary experience that they would never have anywhere else, so there is an opportunity to create a new inspiring experience, like theatre or entertainment, and to propel people into living in a space that they would never have experienced at home or in other places. It's about giving a seamless, fantastic experience for just a couple of days".
Images: Homepage, Nhow Bar, Milan Above: Bedroom image, Prizeotel, Bremen. Wardrobe, Prizeotel, Hanover. Main interior: Amoje Food Capital, Lotte, Korea. Hotel photography: Eric Laignel