International superstar industrial designer Karim Rashid didn’t disappoint the crowds at the Decor + Design show in Melbourne this week, with his inspiring lecture on ‘The Future of Design’, as part of the Australian House & Garden 2016 International Seminar Series.

Based in New York, Rashid is one of the world’s most prolific designers, with over 3000 designs in production. He has done everything from create products for Samsung to Umbria to overhauling the interiors of the hippest hotels in Berlin. He is a huge proponent of the ‘form follows function’ edict that was first propelled by the Bauhaus movement. One of the main thrusts of his talk was that basic rule – designing around basic human function first – is being greatly ignored in the quest for style, so that we have the latter without truly making the world an easier and better place to live in. A classic example is that as he travels the world, ninety percent of the showers in hotel bathrooms require you to get wet before you even get in. Karim would really love designers to start concentrating on how to use the metier to solve problems – to use it as a catalyst for real change and a better human experience.

Karim has always had a strong belief in the digital age changing our landscape, yet questioned why as soon as we move from the digital world to the physical, we often revert to old norms. As he pointed out, we have had 100,000 years of the analogue age and only 40 years of digital, so perhaps the real mental shift is still taking place. Part of his raison d’etre is to facilitate that..

‘ The digital age is democratising the world. Around the world, we interact with the same objects – the same phone interfaces are used in China, in Australia, in Uzbekistan. We interact with on average 650 products a day. If we are interacting with the same products, we really are becoming global citizens, having global experiences. I think the current jingoism and fanaticism are a reaction to that but I think we will push through that. With design, we can collectively shape a better world’.

Famous for his fearless use of colour, Karim was on form on stage in a fluorescent green jacket and white trousers that gave attendees an eye-popping experience. He also took part in a fantastically entertaining discussion at the annual Australian House & Garden/Decor + Design Media Luncheon on Day One of the show, along with keynote speakers Sonia Simfendorfer and Victoria Redshaw.

20160721_DDM2382Decor + Design finishes Sunday 24 July. Entry to the exhibition is free for Trade Visitors – don’t miss Australia’s No.1 interiors event; register now and get down to the Melbourne Exhibition Centre before it closes.