Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008

Karim Rashid

Karim Rashid is an industrial designer and part-time DJ who spent 243 days traveling last year. His projects — he currently has 80 in the works, spanning 36 countries — include a Citibank credit card, hotels from Eastern Europe to Dubai, restaurants (like Majik in Belgrade) and a piano. "The way my life is right now," he says, "if I'm working, chances are, I'm traveling."

Favorite city: "I gravitate toward contemporary cities. Tokyo is one of the most beautifully realized metropolises in the world. I love Belgrade — I just married my Serbian bride — and Milano, for the spirit and passion of the Italians. Moscow right now is one of the most exciting cities in the world for nightlife and energy."

Favorite hotel: "I am so critical of hotels because I am designing them now. I find them antiquated in terms of the digital age. I love the Unique Hotel in Såo Paulo each room has a 7-ft. (2.1 m) circular window and the Semiramis in Athens. Yes, I designed it."

Items I can't travel without: "I always have a sketch pad and my favorite pen, the Precise Rolling Ball Pilot — one in black and one in pink. The pad is usually a hard black binder with a spiral, because I rip the drawings out and scan them back to my office. The other thing is my small pink leather briefcase. I've had a pink obsession since I was 5, I think."

Best travel experience: "Flying on the Concorde three weeks before it ended. It was like flying in a spaceship — a poetic, futuristic experience. We were in Paris in 3 hr. 11 min. It's a shame that travel has become more about how many people you can put on a plane vs. how to get from point A to point B faster."

Worst travel experience: "We sat on the runway for nine hours after a six-hour delay in the airport and were then told there was no food for the flight. I demanded to get off and was almost arrested. I was escorted off by an undercover cop and six policemen. I have since learned to be calm when I travel, since I do it so much."

Jet-lag remedy: "Griffonia simplicifolia seed extract — a.k.a. 5 htp and Paullinia cupana for energy. And I never do work in bed."

Best-loved luggage: "It's all pink with hard-shell cases. I have six or seven of them: Benetton, Hayes ... If I can find pink luggage, I buy it."

Grooming supplies: "I never check a bag, so I carry a small set in my briefcase: Kiehl's shaving cream, Biotherm moisturizer, a good natural toothpaste — all kept in one of those Ziploc plastic bags. I've been thinking of designing one."

By Kristina Zimbalist