Karim Rashid

Question for Karim Rashid by C-Lab

Our model for the living room is decades old. It has not been updated as an object of design. The way we live in our homes has not been conceived as an object of design, as have other things we do, like the way we communicate (phones, music devices), play sports (running shoes), and get around (cars). What do you see as a potential approach to the design of our living spaces?

'Technology is our way of living and should be incorporated as any other aspect of our lives. Denying technology is denying our present, our contemporary way of life, as well as the belief in one’s own capacity and possibility of self-being. Our behavior and social being is changing and our domestic spaces need to address and question these issues.

Our domestic spaces would not just be wired, but seamless, with light that follows you, radiating heat that follows you, music and sound at your footsteps, no door knobs, touch interfaces everywhere, smart bathrooms that analyze and provide health diagnostics and give you biofeedback of your vital signs. Seamless technological components for heat/cold/air/light/music/sound/visuals/telecommunications, infotainment, and audio/visual screens, projections, and interfaces are integrated into this smart space.

The fragmented way which homes are designed (individual non-linked items in a rectangular space) is eliminated, replaced by a holistic, anthropocentric approach. Elements are designed as modular units that fulfill not only the most basic needs of resting and socializing but also the technology-driven pleasures of our time. High tech items are removed from their impersonal black boxes and placed inside our surroundings.

In a post-industrial house – the information house – our conditions will be more relaxed, less rigid, soft not hard, and our experiences will be more hyper-textual and less linear. It is not a coincidence that our ever-shifting global lifestyles are becoming more casual, more relaxed, and softer. I see our new domestic environment becoming more technological, smarter, more engaging – a Sensualism (a more humanized and soft minimalism). Soft is not just relegated to form and shape but also refers to our new material landscape where tactile surfaces give us comfortable physical experiences. Visually and physically soft surfaces, smart materials, translucencies, transparencies, LCD polymer wallpapers, all contribute to this new softness of our interior environment. Materials in our spaces can now flex, change, morph, shift color, cool and heat, communicate and give us feedback.

Our spaces need to be free, free of history, free of tradition, flexible and customizable. The information house is a technorganic house, not the house as a machine as Le Corbusier proclaimed, but a house as information and infotainment. A flexible, connected, seamless interface house. The world is becoming very visually savvy and info-savvy. Our living spaces ideally could be just one large space that is organic, transformable, flexible and allows objects and furniture to breath – to shape the personality of the space. In that space I could envision an infinitely shifting undulating soft terrain. If the virtual world is so flexible, so personalized, so complex, and so aesthetic, why not the physical world?'
-Karim Rashid