“Seating in hotels is always so far
away from one another with huge oversized coffee tables in the way. I can’t communicate with someone 4 feet away over a modernist slab table. There should be a sense of intimacy. But at the same time, you should be able to be very private and work in your own world.” The collection has received Red Dot, Good Design and iF awards. But for Karim, accolades don’t equate to success.

“I define success by consumers liking the work – not by awards or museums. My most successful works were all extremely functional and made life easier, they imbued some flexibility in them or were very comfortable, and had a good production technology to produce them. They were all minimal yet sensual and human.“

Ottawa velvet sofa

We caught up with the man Time Magazine dubbed, “the most famous industrial designer in all the Americas,” to hear about his inspiration, process and thoughts on the award-winning Ottawa collection.

Karim Rashid is one of the most prolific designers of our time, with more than 3000 designs in production and over 300 awards to boot. But more than products, Karim is also known for his personal aesthetic – typically monochrome white or pink – and frank musings on life, society and design. The now resident New Yorker, was born in Egypt to an Egyptian father and English mother; has lived in England, and would later settle in Canada.

The dining collection, with its forest inspired forms, is soft and welcoming, and has garnered fans worldwide. The sofa comprises 10 organically-shaped modules, including ottomans, tri- directional, backless and conventional sofas. The system can be reconfigured and scaled infinitely to fit every need,

and can also include USB ports, power sockets and minimal side tables.

When asked about his inspiration, Karim speaks of employing his philosophy of sensual minimalism, which he defines as soft, comfortable, human, with character yet reductive. Philosophy aside, the sofa was also born out of personal experience.

Karim Rashid

Karim’s background, and the plethora of impressions it afforded, has ingrained a global perspective and broad scope of inspiration and work. “It is my diversity that affords me the ability to cross- pollinate ideas, materials, behaviours, aesthetics and language from one typology to the other. I see myself as shaping human experiences and moving our physical landscape forward.” That aspiration is realised in the Ottawa collection.

Ottawa sofa by Karim Rashid


Karim Rashid is one of the most prolific and awarded industrial designers of our time. We asked him about his thoughts on work-life blend, the future of our workspaces, and how he already designs with that vision in mind.

Workspaces are living spaces


Jan Teunen (*1950) is a Cultural Capital Producer. As a consultant he supports companies in living up to their real potential: namely to create culture and preserve nature. He develops concepts for companies – concepts that contribute to the development of a sustainable company culture. His portfolio includes: dm-drogerie markt, Arbeiter Samariter Bund, Lufthansa.



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