April 5, 2012
By Silvana Longo
Yesterday, HD&R was at the unveiling of world-renowned artist and designer Karim Rashid’s new furniture line at BoConcept—aptly named the Ottawa Collection—a tribute to his early years as a design student at Carlton University where he graduated 30 years ago.
Being there at the bursting-at-the-seams press event at the Adelaide East store was very much like watching the adage in action: Build it and they will come.
Unsurprisingly, Karim’s talent and success is an incredible source of pride for us Canadians…combine that with his affable personality…it kept us riveted as he presented his nature-inspired, uniquely designed dining room set complete with table, chairs, sideboard and cabinet—we happily withstood the crowds, the heat and lingered probably longer than we thought we would because of Karim and because he built something as unique as the nation he comes from.
Karim thought it was appropriate that his tour ended in his hometown of Toronto as it marked the end of a two-year journey from his initial meeting with BoConcept at the Milan trade show (Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano) where the prospect of a collaboration between the prolific designer and the Danish-based global furniture chain was first broached.
The mutual passion for beautiful design with a high level of functionality made the partnership an inevitable one. “I understand the culture of the company, the DNA of Danish design of reconfigurable pieces,” resonates with the designer, to the point where he began the sketching and inspiration for the Ottawa Collection only two weeks after their meeting on a flight from Ottawa to NYC.
The similar landscapes between Denmark and Ottawa was the starting point for this design project, and the exercise turned out to be a reconnection with the artist’s roots.
The event itself was a heart-warming, special meeting with a remarkable designer who seems to have genuine rock star status! Swarmed by his many fans in the industry and press, I decided this (photo on left) was my best bet for a photo op.
On my way out, the real Karim happily posed with me after he got a glimpse (and quite the chuckle) of me mirroring his pose of his life-size photo in the store on my cell phone. Oh Canada, oh Karim! What a great way to end a great day.
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