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In 1979, longtime friends Paul Rowan and Les Mandelbaum founded the Canadian company umbra. In addition to a 30-person design team, umbra employs numerous famous designers, such as Karim Rashid.

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Umbra started in 1979, when the friends Paul Rowan and Les Mandelbaum combined their strengths in order to create exciting and unconventional products for daily home use.

The real start, however, was done by Paul Rowan, with a self-made paper window sunflower, which he proudly presented to his friend, Les Mandelbaum. Both of them were delighted and umbra (Latin for shadow) was born.

The Umbra team includes more than 30 men and women from around the world, as well as well-known designers working as freelancers, having already received numerous design awards. All employees continue to work under the management of Paul Rowan, who still represents the heart and soul of the company. Meanwhile, more than 650 people work in Umbra offices all around the world, and more than 25,000 distributors sell Umbra products in more than 75 countries. Umbra is based in Toronto, Canada.

Umbra celebrated a huge success in the middle of the 1990s with products by a young and not yet well-known designer. This was Karim Rashid, the designer of the paper bin “Garbo” (1996) and the “Oh-Chair” (2000) - both of which became bestsellers, and propelled Karim Rashid to the position of an elite designer.

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