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Object Timeline

1995

  • Work on this object began.

2000

  • We acquired this object.

2012

2015

2019

  • You found it!

Drawing, Designs for "Garbo" Waste Can and Variant Waste Cans, for Umbra, 1995

This is a Drawing. It was designed by Karim Rashid and made for Umbra. It is dated 1995 and we acquired it in 2000. Its medium is rollerball/fiber tip pen in black ink, tape on two joined sheets of white paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Born in Cairo, Karim Rashid has worked in London, Canada, and New York, where he opened his office in 1993. He calls his aesthetic, exemplified in these designs for a waste can, “sensual minimalism.” The Italian manufacturer Umbra fabricated the design shown in the left-center in 1996. A salesperson likened the can’s curves to the silhouette of film star Greta Garbo in a strapless gown, giving the waste basket its name, “Garbo.” From a practical standpoint, the curving top acts as a rim to catch thrown trash, the handles make it appear taller, and the rounded base, which Rashid noted with an arrow on this page, allows for easy cleaning. Rashid begins the design process by hand-drawing many versions of a product in a ring-binder sketchbook, sometimes drawing hundreds of options before arriving at a final form. He then relies on computer-aided-design (CAD) software to complete the design. Rashid’s Garbo can was praised for its combination of sleek elegance, modernism, and affordability, thanks to both the plastic material and his understanding of the manufacturing process. (He claims the first plastic injection of this can resulted in an unusually perfect mold.) The simple bin, millions of which have been sold, launched him to design stardom.

This object was donated by Karim Rashid. It is credited Gift of Karim Rashid.

Its dimensions are

27.9 x 42.2 cm (11 x 16 5/8 in. )

It is signed

Signed and dated in rollerball/fiber tip pen in black ink, lower right: Karim-Aug. 3 - 1995 [underlined]

It is inscribed

Inscribed in rollerball/fiber tip pen in black ink: left half of sheet [arrow, above pointing down and arrow below pointing down] Plan [underlined]Amorphic [underlined]; right: [arrow pointing down to left] eye shape; [arrow pointing upward] Round bottom; right half of sheet, center right: single color/mmold; lower helf, center: [arrow pointing left] 2 parts or 2 colors therefore shape shows from a distance ["or" underlined]/ [arrow pointing left] side view; lower edge: UMBRA.

Cite this object as

Drawing, Designs for "Garbo" Waste Can and Variant Waste Cans, for Umbra, 1995; Designed by Karim Rashid (Canadian, b. Egypt, 1960); Canada; rollerball/fiber tip pen in black ink, tape on two joined sheets of white paper; 27.9 x 42.2 cm (11 x 16 5/8 in. ); Gift of Karim Rashid; 2000-50-19

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18690131/ |title=Drawing, Designs for "Garbo" Waste Can and Variant Waste Cans, for Umbra, 1995 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=18 June 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>