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Q&A with designer Karim Rashid

I have never done anything in D.C. Often in America people see me as too radical and too forward, even though I have designed products that sold in the millions and are found at Bed Bath & Beyond and the Container Store.

What is your opinion of the design of the White House?

The White House is the most arcane, backward place, and it should be plowed down and rebuilt. The interior design of it is from a century and a half ago. If I am the president and I deal with the latest technology and communications . . . the interior of my house should reflect and speak about the time in which we live. The interiors should be contemporary.

How did turning 50 last year affect your work?

I'm on the tail end of the baby boomers. Yes, I've been thinking a lot about aging. I find the world very uncomfortable. The front door of a drugstore is hard to push open; at the hotel the doorknob hurts my hand. We accept this. But my radar is out to do some universal design projects.

The Bobble, a curvaceous, refillable water bottle with a colored filter, has been a big success. How did you get the gig to design that?

These people originally came to me to design luggage. Then we got into talking about creating a water bottle that fit into your luggage perfectly. You walk up to the airport X-ray machine, empty your water if you have to, keep your bottle and fill it up at the other end. I said, "Let's put a filter on it." They loved that idea. They've shipped 15 million Bobbles all over the world.

What color Bobble do you use?

Pink.

If you go

3Karim Rashid's lecture, which is free to the public, is March 24 at 6:30 p.m. at George Washington University's Funger Hall, 2201 G St. NW. A reception follows. Seating is limited; RSVP to intdes@gwu.edu .

KARIM RASHID BY THE NUMBERS

3,000-plus: The number of products Rashid has created during his nearly 30-year career.

15 million: The number of Bobble water bottles that have been shipped around the world.

76: Rashid's height in inches.


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