Posts tagged with "Rafael de Cardenas":
The 14th edition of Design Miami will take place in Miami Beach from December 6-10, 2017, with a series of gallery highlights, auxiliary events, and design curios that will highlight architectural elements and lesser-known pieces from designers both old and new. Highlights include a solo show of furniture designed by Swiss architect Albert Frey for his own Palm Springs home, completed in 1949; a dining table by Chinese architect Ma Yansong of MAD, part of his MAD Martian collection, and an immersive “Isolation Sphere” by French architect Maurice-Claude Vidili from 1971.
New York’s Patrick Parrish Gallery has collaborated with MIT’s Self Assembly Lab to present a series of experimental robotic fabrication displays, including a 3-D calligraphy process that makes objects in a gel suspension. Salon 94 will show a monumental 11.5-foot-tall concrete bench titled Core by London-based designer Philippe Malouin. Clothing brand COS brings their successful Milan bubble installation to Miami this year, this time titled “New Spring Miami.”
The annual Panerai Design Miami/ Visionary Award goes to Mwabwindo School, a collaborative educational project in Zambia by Joseph Mizzi’s 14+ Foundation. The project is designed by Selldorf Architects and will feature original artwork by Rashid Johnson and newly-commissioned furniture by Christ & Gantenbein.
Other talks that are part of Design Miami include about queer space with Rafael de Cardenas and Aaron Betsky, and “Spatializing Blackness,” with USC architecture dean Milton S.F. Curry, architect Sir David Adjaye, artist/designer Amanda Williams, artist Hank Willis Thomas, and Watts House Project cofounder Edgar Arceneaux.
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.
The 2800 sq. ft. flagship store opened ahead of Baccarat's 250 year anniversary.Architecture at Large, a multi-disciplinary practice working within the architecture, interior, art, and branding fields, recently transformed a blackstone Madison Avenue facade into a flagship store for Baccarat, a French manufacturer of fine crystal renowned for their craftsmanship and innovative designs. The facade draws inspiration from said craftsmanship of the 250-year-old brand. Composed of three-layers of custom frit glass, a large-scale, faceted pattern abstracts the cutting of crystal glass into a super scale pattern. "One of the most difficult techniques in the cutting of crystal is the diamond cut," says Rafael de Cárdenas, founder of AAL, "and one of the key attributes that sets Baccarat apart from their competition is the level of intricacy to their cuts." Through various densities of fritting applied to the three layers, ranging in density from 25-75%, a dynamic shifting image is created for passersby and visitors to the building. The Baccarat facade affords limited views of the interior walls, lined with a disorienting blend of dark Macassar ebony wood interspersed with mirrored strips folded into a zig-zagged, corrugated surface. These walls—along with a large centralized chandelier hanging over the entryway—reflect daylight in the space. Cardenas says the sharpness of this feature wall was inspired by the brand itself. “We liked the idea of creating a mystery - of obscuring the interior to create a sense of seduction.” Specific portals utilizing clear glass were framed out on the ground level to establish storefront display zones, and selectively above to reveal the chandelier from the exterior. The retail project was composed of a notably significant project team, pairing two architecture firms with a code consultant, structural engineer, and project manager. The team ultimately influenced the identity of the facade through performative analysis. Fritting pattern densities were adjusted, and ultimately increased during the design process to promote greater heat retention within the interior space, helping to reduce HVAC loads on the building. The existing floor plates of the building were modified to create a large, two-story entrance to the store, resulting in a significantly altered facade opening, infilled with a two-story glass storefront. Through custom frit patterns and layering of material, Cárdenas’ team was able to produce an architectural effect that behaves like crystal itself. “The tradition of having a very holistic identity that has a street presence was definitely honed in Asia,” says Cárdenas, who cites Shiro Kuramata's work with Issey Miyake in the late 1970's as triggering a particularly dynamic retail design culture. "In Asia, all of the brands have their own buildings. Here in New York, on Madison Avenue, the architecture already exists. The facade has no relationship to the interior. With this being said, we were able to create a very strong identity using only glass."