2018 Keynote Speaker

Karim Rashid

Design Director/Konductor, Karim Rashid, Inc.

“My work is a marriage of organic and pure geometry, of technology and materials, as a motivator of human engagement.” – Karim Rashid


“The Future of Design”

The world is becoming very savvy – both visually and about information. The energy and times are hypertrophic and consumers are perpetually interested in being stimulated, in being excited about their physical environment. It is the residue of the digital age. Everything needs to be designed. I see the future of our aesthetic world crossing all the aesthetic disciplines so that design, art, architecture, fashion, food, music, fuse together to increase our experiences and bring greater pleasure to our material and immaterial lives.  Our motivations should focus around our conscious collective memory and a desire to fill it with ideas that are seamless between art and life. I bring differentiation, innovation, and human needs and desires to companies– all necessary in business today, without this, brands will not survive in our shrinking global highly competitive market place.


Visionary and prolific, Karim Rashid is one of the most unique voices in design today. With more than 4000 designs in production, nearly 300 awards to his name, and client work in over 40 countries, Karim’s ability to transcend typology continues to make him a force among designers of his generation.

Eschewing style in favor of designing in the modus of our time, Karim’s designs include luxury goods for Christofle, Alessi, and Veuve Clicquot; democratic products for Umbra, bobble, and 3M; timeless furniture for Bonaldo, Tonelli, BoConcept, and Vondom; exquisite lighting for Artemide and Fontana Arte; high-tech products for Asus and SirinLabs; surface design for Marburg and Abet Laminati; iconic graphics for Citibank and Sony Ericsson; and award-winning packaging for Method, Paris Baguette, Kenzo, and Eos.

Karim’s influence expands beyond product to interiors, including restaurants like Amoje Food Capital in South Korea; hospitality design for nhow Hotel Berlin and budget hotels for Prizeotels in Bremen, Hamburg, and Hannover; public environments like Universita Metro Station in Naples; and retail design for Fun Factory in Berlin and Munich. Additionally, he has collaborated on innumerable concept exhibitions for clients such as Dupont Corian, Deutsche Bank, PepsiCo, and Audi. In 2017 Karim launched KURV Architecture D.P.C. with partner Alex Hughes AIA, bringing a unique multidisciplinary approach to architecture, investment, and development. Numerous awards and accolades attest to Karim’s contribution to the world of design. He is a perennial winner of the Red Dot award, Chicago Athenaeum Good Design award, Pentawards, and IDSA Industrial Design Excellence award. He holds Honorary Doctorates from Carlton University, Pratt Institute, OCAD in Toronto, British Institute of Interior Design, and Corcoran College of Art & Design

Contemporary artwork created by Karim ranges from digital prints to public art/ installation and sculpture. His works are featured in 20 permanent collections in various art institutions worldwide, including Brooklyn Museum of Art, MoMA, and The Center Pompidou. He has exhibited across the globe and is a frequent contributor to the Venice Biennale. He is represented by Sandra Gering Gallery in New York City. A cultural shaper, Karim is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and conferences globally, aspiring to change the world by making design a public subject. He is also regularly featured in print and digital platforms by media companies like CNN, Vogue, Elle, GQ, The New York Times, and countless more. This reach allows Karim to fulfill his ambition of disseminating the importance of design in everyday life. Karim’s latest monograph, XX (Design Media Publishing, 2015), features 400 pages of work selected from the last 20 years. Other monographs include From The Beginning, an oral history of Karim’s life and inspiration (Forma, 2014); Sketch, featuring 300 hand drawings (Frame Publishing, 2011); KarimSpace, featuring 36 of Karim’s interior designs (Rizzoli, 2009); Design Your Self, Karim’s guide to living (Harper Collins, 2006); Digipop, a digital exploration of computer graphics (Taschen, 2005); Compact Design Portfolio (Chronicle Books 2004); and classic titles Evolution (Universe, 2004) and I Want to Change the World (Rizzoli, 2001). In his spare time Karim’s pluralistic practice flirts with art, fashion, and music and is determined to creatively touch every aspect of our physical and virtual landscape. For more, visit karimrashid.com

Jack Curran, PHD.

President of LED Transformations


“The Future of the Lighting Industry”

The combination of LED, controls and sensors represent the future for lighting, offering features previously not possible with conventional approaches.  However, unlike previous lighting advances, this combination will forever change how lighting is designed, specified, purchased, installed and used?  What skill-sets will be required of tomorrow’s lighting practitioners?  What will tomorrow’s customers be looking for from their “lighting” systems? Which companies will “own the ceiling” in tomorrow’s lighting world?  This presentation will examine that future including how health, Circadian cycles, sensors, Internet of Things and “Big Data” will each play a critical role.


Dr. Curran has spent over 30 years in the area of product development.  With 35 patents issued, Dr. Curran has been responsible for a wide range of products.  Currently he is President of LED Transformations, LLC, a South Carolina based technology-consulting company specializing in providing guidance to companies wishing to learn more about LEDs, OLEDs, controls and other elements of today’s lighting landscape.  He is a member of the SPIE; IESNA; OSA and the ASA.  He has given more than 175 presentations to the lighting industry on the correct use of solid-state lighting technology for general illumination applications.

Don E. Contois, P.E.

Associate Principal
Sullivan Code Group


“2015 IBC Major Changes and Existing Building Requirements”

The 9th Edition of the State Building Code has been adopted and is based upon the 2015 International Building Code.  This workshop provides an overview of the changes to the State Building Code in the 9th Edition relative to the previous Editions of 780 CMR.  Side-by-side comparisons and examples are provided to highlight key differences between the two Editions of the code.  The requirements of the International Existing Building Code will also be discussed.  This include a discussion on each of the three methods that can be used and the relative pros and cons of each.  We will also review some of the unique Massachusetts requirements for existing buildings such as the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board and Massachusetts Sprinkler Law.


Mr. Contois joined R.W. Sullivan Engineering in 2001.  Presently, he specializes in code evaluation, code appeals, existing building surveys, fire hazard evaluations, and special inspections. He is also a lecturer at various other seminars on codes, life safety, and fire protection systems. Since his start, Mr. Contois has worked on various code consulting projects dealing with all types of new and existing buildings including schools, offices, retail facilities, hotels, dormitories, academic buildings, and assembly structures.

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