Is Designing a Phone More Complex Than Designing a Building?

Karim Rashid says yes.

Morimoto PA Dining Room

Morimoto’s dining room designed by Karim Rashid

The iconoclastic designer Karim Rashid—best known ’round these part as the interior designer of Philadelphia’s Morimoto—was interviewed in the New York Times’ commercial real estate section recently and offered some rather harsh words for those with architecture degrees. Rashid, who does not have an architecture degree but is nonetheless designing buildings, works with a team of architects and engineers to get around the fact that he’s not licensed. But even if it were a problem, he doesn’t sound inclined to go back to school for architecture anytime soon:

I have to say, and I don’t mean this in a pejorative way, that architecture, in a sense the more pedestrian architecture, is generally quite simple compared to industrial design. In other words, it’s far more sophisticated to do something like a mobile phone than it is to do an average building.

He talks about what it’s like to design buildings from a product design point of view, putting the emphasis on human use rather than on the way a building looks within the landscape.He doesn’t mind that his buildings don’t necessarily fit in with the neighborhoods he builds in:

But the thing is that in great cities in the world, the architecture does not fit. You see 17th century, 21st century and 20th century and 19th century side by side. The beauty of that is not only the eclecticism of the urban fabric, but it denotes and marks the time in which the city was built — the different eras of the city. I think we’re in the midst of a movement right now — a design driven by the digital age.

Don’t tell that to Robert A.M. Stern. He’ll have to redesign the Museum of the American Revolution.

Commercial Real Estate: Karim Rashid [NYT]