Rashid fashions at Istituto Tomie Ohtake. Photo by A. Louback.
November 18, 2008. As pop as he is prolific, Karim Rashid is generally a good topic for design world dinner table dissention: Is he good or just ubiquitous, hard working or derivative? But walking through the current Rashid exhibit, which will run through January 4 at São Paulo’s Tomie Ohtake Institute (in a concrete-and-mirrored-pink Paulistano building designed by Ruy Ohtake), it’s easy to see why Rashid sells as prodigiously as he produces. Whether one believes in ‘one love’ or global utopias or the color pink, the show has been deftly curated by Albrecht Bangert – thank goodness, since Rashid requires editing to be pared down to his most exciting work. Included are some obvious Rashid classics, the Wolf-Gordon wallpapers, the Poly chair for Bonaldo, the Koochy couch for Zanotta, the coffee service for Gaia & Gino, his zippy plastic sneakers for Melissa, but the show also includes work that usually gets lost in the mix: single-dose cosmetics packaging for Prada, perfume bottles you may have missed for Issey Miyake and fragrance capsules for Carolina Herrera, as well as rugs for Turkey’s Step Carpets. Best of all, it is cleverly displayed, with sketches blown up across one entire wall, a twisting ribbon of a shelf showing the small product design (curatorial texts on one side of the ribbon, display surface on the other), as well as sheer curtains printed with his graphics to partition furniture vignettes. You might feel a small shock coming upon the life-sized Karim mannequin (complete with Alain Mikli glasses and white garb) but the DJ Kreemy tracks playing over it all actually seem to keep viewers bouncing through each room, almost – dare we say it? – euphorically. rashidglobal.net, institutotomieohtake.org.br, karimrashid.com
Twisting shelf displaying products. Photo by Alisson Louback.
Rashid graphics adorn partitions between furniture displays.
Left to right: Products, lightboxes, wall graffitied with sketches.