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True global potential a design away

Working with Samsung, LG and other high tech companies in Korea to give them the final coat of polish it needs to compete as a global brand are among the things Karim Rashid believes he can contribute to corporate Korea.

“I think for Korea, one of its strengths is high technology, and it’s a very competitive market,” said the Egyptian-British designer.

“I can take any Korean company tomorrow and turn them into a global brand quite quickly.”

This is also possible because Korean companies already have quality products and simply lack good design. And it’s not just the conglomerates here that have potential.
Karim Rashid
Karim Rashid

“For Korea, it’s the smaller companies and entrepreneurs that need to make noise so that they become a kind of low tech Samsung,” he said, adding that he believes the products here are often too generic.

And it seems that for some companies Rashid may be too far ahead of his time. He worked with Samsung for two years developing televisions, but none of his radical designs were produced.

But nonetheless the designer has an impressive list of creations here that have hit the market and received much acclaim, which he accredited to the easy relationship he has with Korean companies.

“We have a good relationship. The collaboration is good and they are quite very open to my ideas,” said Rashid who has won awards for three of his designs for Paris Baguette, including the popular Eau Bottle.

“I find that when working with a Korean company, the relationship goes very, very smoothly all the time.”

What took branding firms three years, took Rashid just three weeks to impress those at Hanhwa in developing an identity, which he said he is only able to do in a few countries out of the some 45 he works in.

By Robert Lee (