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Canada salutes one of its most prolific designers

Karim Rashid, an Egyptian-Canadian industrial designer, is seen here in this 2007 file photo.

Arantxa Cedillo for The Globe and Mail/arantxa cedillo The Globe and Mail

Saturday's glittering Design Exchange gala, the Toronto-based design museum's annual fundraiser in support of youth programs, promises extra-bright star wattage. Every year, the institution celebrates "exceptional" Canadians who have distinguished themselves in the field of design. Among this year's honorees: homegrown superstar Karim Rashid.

Strangely, the flamboyant, pink-loving Rashid (right) has received few gongs from Canada to date.

In 2006, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Ontario College of Art & Design (now OCAD University), but most of his 300 or so prizes have been bestowed on him by foreign admirers.

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Based in New York, Rashid has designed thousands of products and interiors for clients including Umbra, Artemide and Veuve Clicquot. He is also the author of such provocatively titled monographs as 2001's I Want to Change the World.

In addition to offering a rare Canadian nod to Rashid, tonight's Design Exchange gala, called Binary, will be a family affair. Also being honoured are Hani Rashid (Karim's brother) and Lise Anne Couture, founders of New York-based Asymptote Architecture.

And if the Rashid accolades aren't significant enough, the event will also host the Ontario launch of actor Dan Aykroyd's Crystal Head Vodka, known for its trademark skull bottle design, which, as it happens, is not a product of prolific Karim's studio.

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