Karim Rashid – WOW!

I went to see Karim Rashid speak at Stanford this evening. All I can say is WOW!

Ok, that’s not all I can say:
I had a few preconceptions about the person I thought Karim Rashid was going to be – they were all wrong.

Looking at his designs I expected him to be loud, boisterous, obnoxious. It turns out that he’s a soft-spoken, rational, caring individual. He seems to care genuinely about his work and the people who are effected by it. He cares about the people who have to produce his designs, the people who use them and the affect they have on the environment.

He’s got a huge body of work (check out the website and his book for samples). Of all the things he showed and spoke about this evening, he seemed most proud of a simple chair he designed using 100% recyclable polypropylene.

He’s one of those people who is able to turn the obvious into thoughtful observations. One of those thoughtful observations was, “the digital world is starting to have an effect on the expectations we place on the real world.”

The talk this evening left me asking this question (which will seem completely out of context given what I’ve written so far, but whatever): How do we create formality without ornament?

Also, Rashid’s relentless drive to leave his mark on the world has left me wanting this: A good set of tools for creating complete, end-to-end interactive systems. I want to be able to build a system of my own design, controlling the entire user experience, from bootstrap to user interaction, in a really short time – like a couple weeks.

What’s that you say? I’m dreaming? Well, I’ve got a feeling, this evening, that it’s the dreamers who change the world.