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Real designer versus virtual

AFP RELAXNEWS • 5 min read
Real designer versus virtual
App help to design your home and six things you need to know about New York designer Karim Rashid
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Six things about Karim Rashid The New York–based designer was recently honoured with the American Prize For Design, one of the most prestigious awards in the discipline in the US. Notwithstanding his prolific career and numerous professional accolades, he is not that well–known to the general public. Here is a list of some key facts.

1. Born in Cairo in 1960, the future superstar designer was raised in England and Canada. Now based in New York, he is the brother of architect Hani Rashid.

2. He is the prince of plastic: “Plastic has always been important to me. I saw it as the lively, energetic material of all materials. It was the glossy one, the smooth one, the transparent one, the glowing one, the soft and touchy one, the recyclable one, the fluid liquid solid, and the lightweight material that I, as a young child, naively knew was the material of our contemporary world.”

3. At age 60, Rashid has produced 59 graphic designs, 46 fashion pieces, 306 furniture projects, 34 buildings, 71 lighting designs, 27 hotels, 232 household products, 76 packaging projects, 19 residential designs, 35 architectural materials projects, 102 interiors and 93 exhibitions. That makes it more than 3,000 objects in total.

4. He’s something of a phrase maker: Rashid has described himself as “design pervert, cultural shaper, poet of plastic, digipop rock star”. The designer has also defended the practice of not paying interns, arguing that young designers can learn more from working in a studio than from studying in a fee–paying university.

5. He studied under Italian grand masters of design. Rashid pursued postgraduate studies in Italy under Ettore Sottsass, the founder of the Memphis Group, as well as Alessandro Mendini and Rodolfo Benetto. The influence of these last two Italians, who were renowned for their boldly coloured creations, is clearly evident in his works.

6. Rashid’s designs are featured in 20 permanent collections in various art institutions around the world — including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Chicago Athenaeum and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Months of lockdown have offered many of us the opportunity to reflect on how we could improve the aesthetics of our home. As multiple furniture and home renovation stores closed their doors in reaction to the pandemic, design enthusiasts turned to apps to move forward with their home improvement plans.

As some homeowners might be tempted to give their walls a makeover, Pantone has launched a new tool that will help them match any colour in real life to a similar shade available in the company’s catalogue. The Pantone Color Match Card takes the form of a laminated paper–board card, whose dimensions are similar to those of a traditional credit card. This new tool is currently available to purchase for US$15 ($20.84) as a pack of 25 via Pantone’s website.

Before using the card, DIY enthusiasts have to download the Pantone Connect app on their smartphone in order to measure and match any coloured surfaces, materials and objects to Pantone Color. Users must then place the small Pantone Color Match Card on top of the solid colour of their choice and align the smartphone’s camera at a certain angle to find the closest matching shade in the company’s catalogue.

Meanwhile, American e–commerce website Etsy has turned to augmented reality to help us find the perfect piece of art for our interiors. The company’s new iOS app lets users preview over five million paintings, photographs and prints in the “Art and Collectibles” category directly into their own personal spaces. Additionally, the app allows wannabe interior designers to test different sizes by zooming in on the item on offer. The Android functionality is not available yet, although Etsy “hopes to make the feature available for Android users as soon as possible.”

“Our continued investment in new technologies like augmented reality is helping to ensure that we’re well–positioned to connect buyers and sellers through the most challenging times. And because our listings are handmade or vintage, they’re often one–of-a–kind, so the more that we can do to help buyers visualise items before they check out, the better for our sellers,” Kruti Patel Goyal, Etsy’s chief product officer told Mashable.

While a growing number of furniture retailers are wooing a tech–savvy millennial clientele with new apps, IKEA has long been a pioneer in the trend. In 2017, the Swedish retailer notably launched augmented reality functionality — dubbed IKEA Place — in its signature Store app. Indecisive shoppers can notably browse through a selection of over 2,000 IKEA products before committing to purchase any piece of furniture or home decorating item on the Swedish retailer’s website.

“Augmented reality and virtual reality will be a total game changer for retail in the same way as the internet. Only this time, much faster,” Michael Valdsgaard, leader of digital transformation at Inter IKEA Systems, said of the launch of IKEA Place in a statement.

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