18.11.2004 – 27.03.2005

Karim Rashid – I want to change the world

Digital production techniques in the music industry can be style-defining in design
Exhibition view, Karim Rashid – I want to change the world, 2004.
Photo: Rainer Viertlböck

About the Exhibition

Cairo-based Karim Rashid has made a name for himself on the club scene as a DJ, but he also plays a style-defining role in design. It is not primarily about the telegenic appearance of the New Yorker-by-choice as a pop star with stylish sunglasses, pink shirt, white dinner jacket and slogans ready to print, but about the emergence of a new contemporary pop style in design.

Just as a music studio can use digital technology to remix old songs, ‘sample’ stylistic elements and reissue cover versions of well-known songs, Rashid plays and composes with the stylistic elements of design modernism and consistently transforms them into an unmistakably unique and modern signature. The internationally acclaimed pop star relies on sophistication, intonation, color sense (mostly two-tone, like a street cruiser), Americanisms, clichés, modernisms and plenty of quotes from modern art, from the Op Art of Vasarely to catchy patterns from the graffiti subculture. With his lively, striking language of form and material, Rashid has been a trendsetter in the international design jet set for years. Rashid’s design and art is both loud and lyrical, artistic and tough, commercial and seductive, low and high and extremely successful in Europe, Asia and North America. International hotels, restaurant chains and over 60 furniture manufacturers rely on the zeitgeist and the digital and virtual pop art from the New York studio Rashid.

The secret of his work probably lies in the fact that the boundaries between art and design are blurred.
Rashid’s shapes and colors are so cleverly layered that an object can be perceived as both art and furniture.This principle turns the interiors of hotels, restaurants and showrooms into emotionally tangible works of art and the epitome of the contemporary.

Mies van der Rohe had already soberly stated in the 1930s: The new age is a fact.
The fact today is the then unforeseeable omnipotence of the digital in culture, which will irrevocably redefine architecture, art and design. “In creation and production, the digital overrides what has gone before,” comments Florian Hufnagl, Director of Die Neue Sammlung, on the development in modern design. In his opinion, Karim Rashid is one of the pioneers who consistently use the potential of digitally generated form and ornamentation in design, from perfume bottles to seating landscapes, from designer glass to fashion accessories.

Rashid’s design world thus appears to consumers like a daydream in which the boundaries between the real and the virtual blur imperceptibly.
Seemingly weightless, pop colors and 60s nostalgia merge with the contemporary. What initially appears on the screen in semi-transparent views is the material from which Rashid’s furniture, accessories and interiors are created. Die Neue Sammlung is dedicating its first European museum exhibition to Rashid’s simulations of dream and reality.

The exhibition, curated by Albrecht Bangert and supported by Lancaster Group GmbH Germany, marks the start of the new CHANGE series: under the concept of change, Die Neue Sammlung is presenting a series of exhibitions in its rooms in the Pinakothek der Moderne in loose succession featuring designers or themes that exemplify the current paradigm shift in design. Karim Rashid is one of the protagonists of this new direction.


Exhibition View Karim Rashid – I want to change the world, 2004
Photo: Rainer Viertlböck
Exhibition view, Karim Rashid – I want to change the world, 2004.
Photo: Rainer Viertlböck

The catalogue “Karim Rashid – Change” also contains numerous views of the exhibition staging.

Curated by:

Albrecht Bangert

Supported by:

Lancaster Group