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New Design and Innovation Gallery Opens with 'Totally Rad: Karim Rashid Does Radiators'

First in New Series of Short-Term Shows Exploring Emerging Trends in Design

Curated by Karim Rashid, Totally Rad Showcases How Latest Designs Have Transformed Functional Radiators Into Stunning Design Objects

New York, NY (February 10, 2009)

The Museum of Arts and Design today announced the establishment of its new Design and Innovation Gallery, which will explore emerging trends in design through a series of short‐term exhibitions guest‐curated by leading voices in the field.

The inaugural exhibition, Totally Rad: Karim Rashid Does Radiators, curated by the award‐winning international designer, will showcase the most innovative designs in heating for the home. Rashid has selected approximately 30 steam‐heat designs in production today that highlight the growing interest in creating new forms for this essential element of any home. These radiators, while retaining their functionality as heaters, are beautifully crafted and intelligently designed to serve both aesthetic and practical needs in the domestic interior. Groundbreaking designs include radiators by Antrax, Caleido, Deltacalor, Irsap, Hellos, Gruppo Ragaini, and Runtal. Totally Rad: Karim Rashid Does Radiators will open March 4, 2009 and will run through May 17, 2009 at the Museum of Arts and Design.

“Typically, it takes some time before new work and fresh ideas make their way into museums. With this gallery, we’re able to explore emerging trends in design as they develop, which is a great complement to our permanent collection and our larger special exhibitions,” states Holly Hotchner, the Museum’s Nanette L. Laitman Director. “Totally Rad is the perfect show to inaugurate the space. Radiators are everyday objects that many people overlook, but here we can take the time and space to think about their new aesthetic potential.”

Interior radiators have come a long way since their 19th‐century origins. Clunky and loud,brutal and utilitarian, they were often hidden under a cover or were decorated with improvised embellishments in order to “domesticate” them. Changes in manufacturin technology and our new “design enlightenment” have brought a whole new range of radiators to the market. Totally Rad highlights designs that enhance interior architectthrough unusual shapes or a fervent contemporary sense of pattern and texture. Rashid also explores practical advances, such as models that have an aspect of modularity or flexibility and can adapt to different space configurations or sizes. Innovations in use such as storage, added technology, and new functionality are also explored.

“I have always been excited by fringe areas of design. I have affection for typologies that were considered highly banal: garbage cans, light switches, manhole covers, radiators. I refer to these sacred untouched areas as the ‘last product design frontiers’ where manufacturers and industrial designers are venturing into new unexploited territories,” states Rashid. “In this terrain they bring new heightened aesthetics, higher performance, and more fluid poetics, while touching and reshaping an object that was once considered utilitarian or ‘only engineered‘. These banal objects can be redesigned with the inclusion of human connection and artistic semblance.”

Examples of these breathtaking new designs include Deltacalor of Italy’s “Bambu” which evokes stalks of bamboo in the wind. Clusters of upright steel tubes are gracefully curved at the top, creating a free-standing piece of sculpture. A clever and witty take on the radiator form is provided by designer Stefano Ragaini. His “Ciussai” a long flexible hose, can be rolled up and hung on a wall, twisted like a cane, stretched out like a clothesline, or even used as a bed warmer. Also from the Gruppo Ragaini firm is “S Box,” a series of modular radiators shaped like a wall-mounted storage unit in which bath towels may be stored. Modularity and flexibility are also highlights of Hellos’s “Square” radiator—8 by 8 inch flat boxes that can be installed in any pattern, ranging from a horizontal line that follows the wall, and continues into corners, to a geometric grid pattern that hangs on the wall like a piece of sculpture.


Rashid—born in Cairo, half Egyptian, half English, and raised in Canada—practices in New York. Designing for an impressively democratic array of clients from Alessi to Dirt Devil, Umbra to Prada, and Miyake to Method, Rashid’s democratic designs have altered the nature of the consumer culture. To date, he has had two architectural commissions, numerous interior design commissions, and some 2500 objects put into production to date, among them furniture; decorative objects; lighting, vacuum cleaners; and yes, radiators—his Klobs project for Tubor serves as sculpture and functional art, with a number of round moving parts that both radiate heat and act as towel holders. Rashid’s work is in the permanent collections of museums worldwide; he is a frequent teacher, lecturer, author, and DJ.


The Design and Innovation Gallery at the Museum of Arts and Design, located on the 2nd floor, showcases emerging trends in contemporary design through a program of short-term exhibitions. Responding nimbly to new developments in design, the Museum invites guest curators to explore current themes, issues, and innovations in the field. Exhibitions will introduce the work of young, up-and-coming designers as well as design pioneers, and will explore advances in sustainable design.

Upcoming presentations in the Galleries include Gord Peteran: Furniture Meets its Maker, May 27-July 26, 2009, featuring approximately 20 works of the distinguished furniture maker, and A Great Investment, August 12 – October 11, 2009, which will examine how value is determined and perceived in contemporary design.


The Museum of Arts and Design explores how craft, art, and design intersect in the visual arts today. The Museum focuses on contemporary creativity and the ways in which artists and designers from around the world transform materials through processes ranging from the handmade to cutting edge technologies.

The Museum’s exhibition program explores and illuminates issues and ideas, highlights creativity and craftsmanship, and celebrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by creative and innovative artists. MAD’s permanent collection is global in scope and focuses on art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day.

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