Posts tagged with "Interior Design":

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Pedro&Juana’s Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss show off their new apartment in Mexico City

This article appears in AN Interior's sixth edition—if you're not a subscriber, there's still time to buy it on newsstands! See our list of stores here.

Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss, of Mexico City–based Pedro&Juana, met in 2005 while attending SCI-Arc (the Southern California Institute of Architecture). The pair then spent about four years at Jorge Pardo Sculpture (JPS) in L.A. They launched Pedro&Juana in 2012, after moving to Mexico City from Mérida, Mexico, where Pardo had been building a hacienda. In the years since, the firm has developed a series of architecture- and furniture-driven designs, including installations for the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB), 2016 Design Miami showcase, and an upcoming design for the Commons, a multiuse engagement space at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. In all of their projects, they furnish public areas with furniture of their own design, imbuing utilitarian spaces with a joyful energy and effervescent wit. Those sensibilities—and some of those furniture pieces—are fully realized throughout the pair’s recently renovated, 1,200-square foot Mexico City apartment.

“We kind of just did it the way we wanted to,” Ruiz Galindo said, describing the radical renovations the pair made to their fanciful apartment in the city’s Colonia Juárez neighborhood. The residence is located in a two-story, 176-unit neoclassical building built in 1913 as housing for the administrative staff of a local tobacco company called El Buen Tono.

The apartment had a long history of deferred maintenance and disjointed alterations that allowed the designers to reprogram the spaces as they saw fit. “We eradicated hallways and, typologically speaking, went back in time,” Reuss said. The flip was simple: Service areas were consolidated and modernized in the front of the apartment, while bedrooms were moved to the back. The unit’s two patio spaces were revamped too, with one receiving a wooden deck and the other a masonry floor. The wooden deck sits above an open basement level designed to passively cool the unit. To access the basement, Ruiz Galindo and Reuss added a new spiral staircase made from salvaged wooden beams left over from the construction. “That basement can be a problem. In our neighborhood the city sinks between 10 and 15 centimeters every year,” Reuss said, explaining Colonia Juárez’s extra-porous subterranean landscape. When it rains, the apartment’s basement sometimes floods as a result.

The main bedroom’s floor was replaced. There, the designers painted the new floors white to match the walls and ceilings of the room. A low, wide bed fills a space shared with a rocking chair and a lamp prototype leftover from their days at JPS. A nearby bathroom is decorated with brick checkerboard floors and a colorful array of citrus-hued tiles. The kitchen, simply articulated and looking out over the masonry floor courtyard, features built-in cabinetry and wooden countertops. Water damage from semi-seasonal flooding left the original pine floors in the dining room rotted through, so Ruiz Galindo and Reuss replaced them. The new pine floors match the casework, everything a crisp hue of light golden brown. Deeply recessed French doors cut into the exterior masonry walls of the room, opening out onto a shared courtyard. The doors, studded with divided lights and paneling, like the wide sweeps of crown molding above, echo the Beaux Arts provenance of the building.

The rest is a mix of contemporary objects and hand-me-downs: utilitarian bracketed bookshelves, prototype chairs and leftover lamps from the CAB installation, a pair of cabriole-leg chairs upholstered in yak wool. Stacks of tiny objects abound too, including groupings of the firm’s Maceta ceramic pot, a stackable vessel made of inverted, symmetrical cones of clay. These objects, Reuss said, are “the residues and leftover prototypes, extras that [over time] started to populate our house.”

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REVEALED: Two interiors of Zaha Hadid’s 520 West 28th

The first images of furnished interiors from Zaha Hadid's 520 West 28th Street in Chelsea—located by The High Line—have been unveiled. The images reveal a 4,500-square-foot, $15 million, four-bedroom condo that looks over The High Line with views onto the Empire State Building and a smaller, 1,700-square-foot apartment. Designer Jennifer Post provided the furniture and decor for the former, being commissioned by developer Related Companies. She used a mixed palette of soft tones and vibrant colors that populate the extravagant interior space. "I am usually the creative visionary behind both the architecture and interior design of a space," said Post in a press release. "Here, I am respectfully creating a vision that coexists with the vision of one of architecture's greatest minds. This prompted me to really consider every move, every decision in a different, special way." For the smaller living unit (which will cost $4.9 million) West Chin, principal of West Chin Architects, employed a minimalist aesthetic when designing the condo's interior. 520 West 28th rises to 11 stories and offers 39 residences that vary from two to five bedrooms. They range in price from $4.95 million to $50 million—the latter getting you a triplex penthouse. It will also be outfitted with a 2,500-square-foot sculpture deck, art from Friends of the High Line, an automated underground parking lot with a robot-operated storage facility, a double-height lobby, an entertainment lounge, and a 12-seat IMAX screening room. The development will also include a 75-foot pool, a gym, and a luxury spa suite equipped with a spa pool, cold plunge pool, waterfall shower, sauna, steam room, chaise lounges, and massage beds. Construction is edging closer to completion. Move in dates are expected around June this year. Both Jennifer Post's and West Chin's model dwellings will be used as sales galleries for the building.
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Explore culture and identity through interior design and décor at the Walker Art Center’s latest exhibit

The Walker Art Center has brought together 23 international and multigenerational artists in its latest exhibition Question the Wall Itself. The show explores cultural belonging and identity through interior spaces and décor. The show is curated by Fionn Meade with Jordan Carter, and shown in the Target, Friedman, and Burnet galleries.

The exhibition includes sculptures, installations, films, videos, photographs, performances, and site-responsive works, presented as a series of rooms. From the prison cell to living room, and the library to the interior garden, many artists drew on their personal, social, and cultural backgrounds to produce works for the show.

An accompanying publication will include new writings and visual essays by participating artists, as well as an extensive photographic walkthrough of the installations with essays by curators Fionn Meade and Jordan Carter, as well as visual arts curator Adrienne Edwards, Walker Art Center’s Bentson Scholar of Moving Image Isla Leaver-Yap, and art historian Robert Wiesenberger.

Question the Wall Itself Walker Art Center 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis November 20, 2016 through May 21, 2017

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LAMAS crafts a simple, multipurpose aesthetic for a compact Brooklyn bookstore

“Whimsical Shaker,” is how WH Vivian Lee, principal and cofounder of LAMAS described the design of Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab, a children’s bookstore in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The 650-square-foot space is maximized with this simple, multipurpose aesthetic, from the bookshelves along a classic Shaker chair rail (the chairs can be hung up as well when not in use) to the drop leaf tables and chairs that the firm designed. “The display furniture takes on a playful quality because the half-arc is not only a motif, it also takes advantage of MDF [medium density fiberboard]—the drop leaf ‘petal tables’ were cut out of the half-arc display tables,” explained Lee. To brighten the formerly dark space, Lee and her partner James Macgillivray employed a dual-sided painting concept where one side of the furniture is white and the other side is brightly colored. “We wanted to accentuate the shading of the real world literally onto the building,” Macgillivray said. In the back of the bookshop, a small classroom is used for after-school creative writing, drawing, and storytelling programs.

> Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab 458 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY Tel: 718-369-1167 Architect: Lee and Macgillivray Architecture Studio (LAMAS)

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Airbnb opens an international HQ in Dublin (again)

Airbnb has officially opened its new headquarters in Dublin, located on Hanover Quay, in the "Silicon Docks" area of Ireland’s capital city. The 40,000-square-foot project, dubbed The Warehouse, will house more than 400 employees and emerges out of another collaboration with Dublin-based heneghan peng architects, the firm behind the company’s previous Dublin office (which will remain in operation). The new Dublin HQ’s three stories are designed around an atrium and amphitheater in the center of the building and features a grand central staircase, named the ‘Agora.’ The staircase can serve as a large conference or community event space for up to 400 people, or a lounge-style working environment for employees throughout the normal workday. The new Airbnb international headquarters inherits a rich history, having been home to Dublin Trawling Ice & Cold Storage since 1865, and the Raleigh Bicycle Company since 1954. When the bike manufacturer left in 1980, the warehouse was but a shell for a completely open floor plan, falling into disrepair after enduring not one, but two fires. Airbnb is said to have had direct architectural input in renovating the empty space, optimizing chances for “unplanned encounters that open avenues of creative exploration,” that “only the physical work space can activate,” according to Aaron Harvey, head of the environments team at Airbnb. “Our ambition has often been moderated by constraints of an existing structure that can’t be altered,” Harvey said.  “It was with the Dublin Warehouse that we finally had the opportunity to provoke the level of interaction and crosstalk that we’ve always imagined.” Each of the 29 primary working spaces, or ‘neighborhoods,’ come with its own large communal table instead of individual desks, shared storage space for employees, one or two sit stands, and a designated lounge spot, while secondary work spaces exist in kitchen areas or meeting spaces scattered throughout the warehouse, such as on the landings between floors. With more workstations than staff, the architects have designed enough space for everyone to sit where they like, according to News Four. Of course, in keeping with tradition, The Warehouse offers meeting rooms designed as replicas of the hottest listings on the Airbnb platform, drawing inspiration from destinations such as Mykonos, Lisbon, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco in Mexico, and Montpellier in France. The Warehouse is also Airbnb’s first urban campus model, which is expected to become more prevalent in the company’s office spaces moving forward.
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A very ’70s artist’s loft is transformed into an elegant home for a growing Manhattan family

Except for the rarified homes of the rich and famous (or just plain rich), “spacious” is a relative term in New York real estate. Finding enough space for a growing family can be a challenge, so many choose to stay in place and maximize the square footage they have, any way they can.

For a loft on Jane Street, on a prime West Village corner, one family commissioned Architecture in Formation (AiF) to design a space that was warm, refined, and practical, and that took advantage of the 13-foot ceilings to compensate for comparatively little floor space.

”Before our renovation, the space was this classic hodgepodge 1970s artist’s studio that featured all the horrible tropes from that period,” said principal Matthew Bremer. The family needed room for more members, and once the ’70s touches were removed, the pre-war, former manufacturing building offered plenty of flexibility for a mutable layout with ample storage.

“The space is a celebration of storage and display, and articulates the positive relationship between the two—it’s 95 percent storage, five percent display,” Bremer said. The overall design stems from the white-accented arched living room window, which floods common areas with sunlight. Steel columns and beams are accented by raw brick and semi-industrial touches, like the dining room light switches, while teal counter-height chairs and a dark blue island add a subtle warmth that complements the lacquered cabinets. The family actually cooks (“unlike some of my Manhattan clients”) and entertains, so kitchen appliances and fixtures are top-of-the-line functionally, not just showpieces.

Taking advantage of the soaring ceilings, the architects were able to create a lofted mezzanine space—for sleeping, storage, or studying—above the bathrooms and closets that is accessed from a ship’s ladder in the master bedroom. The transition from public to private space is grounded by a pocket door between the master bedroom that allows the space to merge with the main living areas, if desired. At the ground level, the apartment is scaled to children, as well as four-legged family members—there are dog bowls built into the kitchen island. From every angle, the 1,500-square-foot home expresses coolness and subtle contrast in an extraordinary volume.

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23 artists take on interior space and design at a new Walker Art Center exhibit

Contemporary political issues will be considered through the lens of the interior in Question the Wall Itself, which will feature works by 23 artists from 15 countries. The Walker Art Center has commissioned seven of the works, and although most date from 2012 to the present, some are from the 1970s. Question the Wall Itself will present a wide variety of works conceived as rooms, including everything from an anteroom, a living room, and a prison cell, to a showroom, a library, and an interior garden. “Recasting our conception of interior space and design, the works on view will exist between artwork, prop and set, or stage, challenging understandings of social convention, habit, and code,” said the exhibition’s curator, Walker Art Center artistic director Fionn Meade.

For example, artist Walid Raad’s 2014 Letters to the Reader (1864, 1877, 1916, 1923), creates and questions “potentially hollow decors imperceptible to spectators…the speculative promise of museum-scale showrooms for modern and contemporary ‘Arab art’ in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” said Meade. Also according to Meade, Jonathas de Andrade’s 2012 Nostalgia, a Class Sentiment “animates the modern architecture of Brazil as a foyer of the politics of nostalgia.” He added: “Through each of the artist’s examinations of specific interior spaces and architecture—both public and private—the political, social and subjective contexts of these environments are revealed.”

Question the Wall Itself Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis November 20–May 21

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MoMA recreates a dozen interiors for “How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior”

How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior will recreate a dozen full-scale interior spaces dating from the 1920s to the 1950s and feature over 200 objects. Each interior will focus on the design elements within its specific setting, as well as its connection to external factors and attitudes—aesthetic, social, technological, and political.

Divided into three chronological groupings—the late 1920s to the early 1930s, the late 1930s to the mid-1940s, and the late 1940s into the 1950s—the scenes will also explore several designers’ own living spaces, and frequently overlooked areas in the field of design, such as textile furnishings, wallpapers, kitchens, temporary exhibitions, and promotional displays. Works by major women architect-designers, many created in partnerships, also will be highlighted. Featured collaborators include Lilly Reich and Mies van der Rohe; Florence Knoll and Herbert Matter; and Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier. Among the interiors on display will be the 1927 Velvet-Silk Café, designed by Reich for a women’s fashion exhibition in Berlin, with tubular steel furniture by Van der Rohe; 1929 furniture and exhibition designs by Perriand, Le Corbusier, and Pierre Jeanneret; the 1948 Knoll furniture showroom in Manhattan, designed by Knoll and Matter; and a 1959 study bedroom for the Maison du Brésil at the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris by Perriand, Le Corbusier, and Lúcio Costa.

How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York Through April 23

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AN interviews “the design world’s number one power broker” (and you may never have heard of him)

Éminence grise Michele Caniato is the president of Material ConneXion and is responsible for many colossal decisions in the design industry. With locations all over the world, Material ConneXion maintains the world’s largest subscription-based materials library. The Architect’s Newspaper sat down with Caniato to discuss the behind-the-scenes operations of his career and the industry at large.

The Architect’s Newspaper: You have been called “the design world’s number one power broker” for negotiating a deal between Philippe Starck and Target to create consumer products. How did a native Milanese end up in New York promoting good design?

Michele Caniato: I came to New York because of George Beylerian. I studied architecture and design in Milan, and I wanted to learn about more design and the English language (which I’m still learning). My uncle Giulio Castelli, founder of Kartell, introduced me to George—I still remember when he [George] gave me The New York Times and said, “Good luck finding an apartment.” George is and was a mentor: I came to work for him for six months and the six months turned into 25 years.

Sitting in his townhouse on 77th Street, we had the brilliant idea to start Material ConneXion as the material resource library and Culture + Commerce as the design brokering agency; our first client was Philippe Starck.

Twenty-five years ago, design in the United States was only really associated with high fashion like Ferrari, you know, with fashion, jewelry, or luxury cars. My mission with George was to bring design to the everyday person. We were the first ones to bring a designer to Target, and, as you know, Philippe started to design 52 products for important discount stores like Target.

We have several clients in the architecture industry including major architects, but we have seen that, especially for construction materials, innovation is very difficult and it often takes a long time because of the coding issues and approvals in order for safety or for fire coding.

What different design-related businesses are you involved with at the moment?

In 2011, we sold our businesses to Adam Sandow, who is now the CEO. The past four years have been an incredible journey in which Adam and I took the company to the next level. We have over 20 locations for Material ConneXion and over 20 designers that we represent. Our dream is to try to bring as much innovation as possible for materials and processes in industries like architecture or aeronautics.

For those who don’t know about Material ConneXion, can you explain how it works?

Anyone can join our library as a member, and most of our clients work in the design world in some capacity. Members enjoy use of our extensive online database, access to our New York flagship library and six locations around the world, access to material specialists at the library, the option to subscribe to our quarterly box of innovation, ActiveMATTER, and work on longer-term projects with our consulting division, ThinkLAB.

Who besides architects are members of the library?

Our library includes members from across all industries of design. We work with corporations like Nike, Coach, Google, Tesla Motors, and others to provide material solutions. We also work with universities to build bespoke libraries and offer the largest materials research database in the world for students in architecture, engineering, fashion, and other design fields. We also work a lot in the aeronautic industry. Our goal is to bring new textiles and new processes to them, especially for the interiors of airplanes.

How do products enter into the library?

Products are entered into the library through an internal jury process. Our material experts research and collect material samples, then meet once a month to judge the best and most innovative materials. On a quarterly basis, we hold an external jury where we invite experts from design-related industries to help us choose the 15–20 best materials of the quarter to be included in our ActiveMATTER box of innovation.

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This Spanish office is an architectural fun house that challenges normal spatial perception

The HUB flat in Madrid, designed by Josemaria Churtichaga and Cayetana de la Quadra-Salcedo of Madrid- and Miami-based ch+qs, is a fun house of architectural design as well as an homage to 1970s American artist Gordon Matta-Clark, who studied architecture at Cornell and was famous for taking slices out of abandoned buildings.

Churtichaga also teaches architecture at the University of Miami. He designed the HUB flat in 2013 as an upstairs addition to his design for The Hub, a ground-floor incubator, which occupies a former garage, where young entrepreneurs can brainstorm about start-ups.

The HUB flat is a mere 1,100 square feet but contains a living room, three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen, all transformed through Churtichaga’s remarkable cutouts. A long cone-shaped negative volume slices diagonally through the entire apartment, while huge circles cut through walls, creating mind-bending, unexpected vistas. The circles are in the walls connecting the living room and a bedroom, as well as in between two other bedrooms. The cone and circles, Churtichaga said, “have the power to be recognized by very few elements.”

“I took the original structure and space and took out material. By taking out material, you can transform with a very, very, very, extremely low budget,” Churtichaga added, describing his concept as “a design through unbuilding, demolishing.” His entire budget: A tiny $33,880. (The furniture is from IKEA.)

The playful ambiance continues with various wall coverings, including a vintage 1950s turquoise-blue wallpaper with a geometric design, and special black paint that acts as a blackboard surface for drawing and writing.

Entering the flat, Churtichaga explained, alters the visitor’s perception. “We are playing with you; we are challenging you. You don’t know exactly if you’re seeing a mirror, how big the rooms are.” The concept, he said, is the architectural equivalent of the disruptive perceptions sought by The HUB’s young entrepreneurs. “If you want to generate new business ideas, you also have to behave disruptively.”

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Pop, supergraphics, and eclecticism: The L.A. cool of Design, Bitches

Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph, cofounders of the multidisciplinary firm Design, Bitches, recently moved their four-person office from Rudolph’s home to a not-yet-gentrified nook of L.A.’s Glassell Park. Aside from a homey corner store, their mid-block storefront is the only other obviously inhabited shop in the area. But even that distinction is nebulous: With its street number missing, the studio is discernible only by an old sign a previous occupant left behind that reads “Architecture.” Make your way through a metal gate and vestibule, and you’ll find yourself transported into the well-lit, spartan factory Design, Bitches uses as its headquarters.

The genesis of Johnson and Rudolph’s firm is a well-worn story: During the depths of the Great Recession, the American Institute of Architects L.A. chapter put out a call asking, “Architecture is: Fill In The Blank.” The duo’s response, “It’s design, bitches!” became the clarion call that launched a namesake practice. Both were working at Barbara Bestor’s office at the time and had experience with high-profile commercial projects—Johnson worked on Intelligentsia Coffee’s Sunset Junction location, while Rudolph labored on the interiors for Beats By Dre’s Culver City headquarters. The duo joined forces and put together a mostly fictitious portfolio for the AIA competition, ultimately winning an honorable mention award for their provocations.

Since then, Design, Bitches has not only become a real firm with real projects, but one that has gone on to help articulate the polyamorous eclecticism that now defines the hipster, slow food, and green juice scenes of popular L.A. culture. That’s because the Southern California Institute of Architecture–educated principals have a keen and self-described interest in pop. They are as likely to evoke Venice’s Dogtown days by using Mexican poncho fabric to wrap banquettes as they are to riff on Frank Gehry’s exposed stick construction by turning the horizontal fire-stops between studs into shelves for epiphytes and succulents. They rain down supergraphics upon diners hunched over grain bowls and have used indoor planters and palm fronds to divide a wine bar from a yoga space.

Design, Bitches works across the fields of architecture, interior design, and graphic design, merging those related traditions with pop culture and brand identity. The result is a trademark approach that is notable for its intellectual flexibility, constant reinterpretation, and total-work-of-art-ness. Because it mines history and references heavily and freely, one can’t really say, “That’s a Design, Bitches project,” per se, but look through your most in-the-know L.A. friend’s Instagram, and it’s more than likely Johnson and Rudolph’s work will come up sooner or later.

Touting itself as an “eco-vegan-mind-body-one-stop-shop,” the Springs brings together a mix of programs—wine and juice bar, restaurant, yoga studio, and wellness center—inside a structural steel-and-concrete-block hangar in L.A.’s Arts District. Concrete-block planters and a breezeblock screen split the industrial-scale volume. The spaces between these dividers are populated with objects painted in a sun-bleached spectrum, running from bright yellow to key lime to turquoise. These colors are applied to space-specific furniture: wood benches and chairs in the dining areas; couches, bowl chairs, and yoga mats in the wellness areas; as well as an assortment of rugs and pillows throughout.

The Oinkster Hollywood The Oinkster is a picnic-inspired roadside burger and pastrami stand in Hollywood. Design, Bitches uses an open, porous plan and facade to make the dining room seem more like a covered patio. The seating is a nod to picnic benches, and VCT tiles are laid out in various gingham patterns along the floor, drop ceiling, and the wall framing the kitchen pass. A long, street-facing patio area is topped by a white cloth awning, while supergraphics depicting the restaurant’s name and logo—a reclining, sunglasses-wearing cheeseburger—wrap the parapet above.

Button Mash Button Mash is a unique restaurant barcade located in one of the ubiquitous strip malls along Sunset Boulevard. The architecture nods to pop culture, bright colors, and screaming patterns just as much as the games themselves do. The entry area’s walls and ceilings are covered entirely in a cartoony, black and white wallpaper depicting scenes of surfboard-toting beach babes, dudes and sea monsters playing arcades, random medusa heads, and a rat screaming on an old school brick cellphone. The interiors resemble an unfinished Southern California garage smashed together with a Midwestern basement with board and batten wood paneling, polished concrete floors, built-in seating, and a mish-mash of ceiling types. Picnic tables and diner and barstool seating areas fill out the space between arcade games.

The Springs Touting itself as an “eco-vegan-mind-body-one-stop-shop,” the Springs brings together a mix of programs—wine and juice bar, restaurant, yoga studio, and wellness center—inside a structural steel-and-concrete-block hangar in L.A.’s Arts District. Concrete-block planters and a breezeblock screen split the industrial-scale volume. The spaces between these dividers are populated with objects painted in a sun-bleached spectrum, running from bright yellow to key lime to turquoise. These colors are applied to space-specific furniture: wood benches and chairs in the dining areas; couches, bowl chairs, and yoga mats in the wellness areas; as well as an assortment of rugs and pillows throughout.

Nong Là At Nong Là’s La Brea Avenue location, the second branch of the popular, family-run Vietnamese restaurant, Design, Bitches uses plants and wood—hanging pothos plants and philodendron-printed wallpaper, and exposed two-by-fours—to evoke the banal domesticity of L.A.’s single-family homes. In one area, the leisure shirt–inspired wallpaper turns from wall to drop ceiling, terminating in the middle of the dining room to reveal exposed ceiling joists as well as a trio of HVAC grilles. Navy-blue cloth banquettes, button-studded and hanging on golden hoops from pegs embedded in the wall, follow the space’s perimeter, while a mix of built-in settees and colonial and midcentury chairs fill out the dining room’s tabled seating areas.

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AN interviews interior design international rising star Rafael de Cárdenas

Rafael de Cárdenas founded Architecture at Large in 2006 and he has steadily taken the world of interiors by storm ever since. With his studio’s residential and commercial projects, he has built a body of work that deftly injects a jolt of born-and-bred New Yorker pop-culture sensibility into a market that is so often more workaday. He was recognized by MAISON&OBJET as Designer of the Year in January 2016. AN sat down with him to discuss the world of interiors past and present.

The Architect’s Newspaper: Moving in scale from your furniture to art galleries, interiors, and even ground-up buildings, do you feel like your work is all one continuous project? Or are there certain aspects in which you take pleasure in each that don’t exist in the other scales of projects?

Rafael de Cárdenas: I always move from small to big; I always think that way. Even in terms of doing ground-up work, I think of how the space feels and what space does to people. It happens to a lesser degree at the scale of doing a building, but I suppose that does other things.

A spatial experience versus an imagistic experience? Do you normally work from the inside, out?

Yes, it’s like an anthill. I’m figuring out, or scripting, how we might operate inside, and then the form emerges from that. Of course there’s always other constraints too.

You have a diverse client list, ranging from Nike to Baccarat to Delfina Delettrez. Do those projects bring the same kind of pleasure, or is it more like flexing different muscles?

I don’t know how this happened; it’s not like I have some desire to be.… Well, I like architecture a lot, but I’m not interested in the discourse of academic architecture.

I vividly remember a well-known architect, who shall not be named, say that “architecture is the history of ideas.” I remember being like, “You’re just saying that because you haven’t convinced anyone to build anything, and the few things you have built suck, and it’s not emblematic of what you say.” I have a problem with heroism—the heroic architect—because I’m not a genius, and I’m not trying to save the world, but I build almost every single project that I design. It’s important that even things that are not built, we’ve been paid for!

It’s the culture of production—you have to make things. What if an artist only had the history of ideas? If you make only one thing, it better be amazing. Like Kafka. You know, Kafka didn’t publish a lot.

So if architecture puts relatively few physical things out there in the world, and those few things need to be prodigious, what would an analogous format be for smaller-scale projects? As in shorter, more self-contained works that are more frequent but still convey a definite atmosphere? Would it be more like poetry?

Kafka was a ghost, and ghosted things are very romantic and beautiful. James Dean is so romantic and beautiful because we didn’t have him for very long. I would say that my approach, because I’m so obsessed with music, is in many respects like making songs—and some of them are not great! Some of them are B-sides. But sometimes I’ll look back at the B-sides five years later, and I’ll think, “That was really cool; let’s revisit that.”

Everyone’s different, and there are people who build on one project forever, and those successful examples are rarely stylistic. Like I.M. Pei for example, you could argue he had a style, but I.M. Pei also did something else with space and form, he just often used similar forms. Or Rem [Koolhaas], for example, I feel like it’s the same project over and over again—and I love it, it just keeps getting better and better. But the reason I don’t work like that—the single project, that is, I do think I’m getting better—is I’m an architect, and I didn’t necessarily set out to be an interior designer. I resist the term a little bit, and the only reason is because I do think that I claim this for architecture, I just happen to do things in a way that I can do them faster, with smaller budgets, and convince people to build them. That happens to be New York interiors, but the vantage point is architecture. I’m very satisfied by what I’ve been able to do, especially since it was never a passion – I didn’t set out to work in this business. I don’t love interiors. I shouldn’t say that… I love space, I love atmosphere, and it’s a combination of a million things, and I arrived here in a very circuitous way. I’ve never worked for an interior designer, so I had no idea how it was done.

So I wouldn’t say poems, because I don’t necessarily look to poetry for inspiration, but I look at music. I look at things that work really fast. Poetry is quiet and works slowly. Music and fashion by nature work on a more compact schedule: They’re fingerprinting the moment right now. When you hear music from a time, it signifies that moment. I think poetry and literature fingerprint a moment less effectively, or at least it’s less specific. It’s more an era than a moment. You can look at a skirt and you can tell almost to the year [when it was made], and music works similarly. I love that; I think that’s cool.

Do you collect any design pieces?

I do. I just sold a ton of stuff recently. I started buying a lot of Memphis stuff, a few things were my family’s from when I grew up, but I sold a lot of the Memphis stuff. I hate the constant thing where people say, “Oh, so you love Memphis.” That’s such a basic thing to say, in the K-Hole [the trend forecasting group] sense.

Because it’s too self-evident?

It’s just a dumb thing to say. For example, Frame did a story a few years ago. It was the color issue, and some publication had called me the King of Color. But everything has a color! Beige is a color! I have a few projects that are multicolored.

But in general your projects are pretty restrained in terms of color palette.

Even black and white, almost everything is black and white. It’s just such a funny thing.

So Memphis is the too easy comparison, but there are other references, like Bruce Goff, Frank Lloyd Wright, I even read some Buckminster Fuller formal tropes… I love Bruce Goff. To be honest I’m actually not so familiar with Buckminster Fuller, except that we had to make a geodesic dome in summer camp—that was the first time I’d ever heard of Buckminster Fuller.

Where would you go out in New York in the 1980s and ’90s?

The first time I went out, I was 13, and I went to the Saint with a friend’s older brother, and it was just like, “Wow.” Then the next time I went out, I was around 15, and I went to this bar in the chapel of Limelight called Shampoo, around 1989 or ’90. That was club-kid at its peak, house music. NASA [Nocturnal Audio Sensory Awakening] opened around ’92, but it was pretty classic house. I remember being like “Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Have those experiences and those interiors influenced your work today?

Yeah, totally. I want to do that. I want to be that.

What about those environments do you try to integrate into your projects or the way you work?

There are interesting things with form that equate human emotion, and that is a sort of confusion. Confusion can be a very evocative thing: It can be titillating, and form and pattern can do that. That sort of envelopment and immersion is important.

Last question: your favorite Instagram accounts? For any reason—stalking, research, pure time wasting… Well, they’re all time wasting… But I love Matt Connors’ Instagram, @cattmonnors. I love Paloma Powers, partly because she has such a finely honed aesthetic. It is finely honed, and I really like her and I think that within the grand scheme, she is pretty awesome. I like Louis Rambert, he’s a friend who is a window dresser at the Bon Marche in Paris. I really like Stefan Beckman. I love RuPaul—not necessarily her Instagram account, but I think she deserves more, I think she’s kind of a genius.