RAFAEL DE CÁRDENAS, MAISON&OBJET AMERICAS 2016 DESIGNER OF THE YEAR

MAISON&OBJET AMERICAS is honoring the work of the New York architect–designer, a master of the art of combining a freewheeling use of color with rigorous geometry. Come discover his neo-postmodern, ’80s-influenced world.

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Across the Atlantic, Rafael de Cárdenas is more than just a lifestyle industry fad. By synthesizing the major aesthetic trends that have marked America in the second half of the twentieth century, as well as the ones that suffused urban America in the ’80s, his neo-postmodern style has opened a new chapter in the history of American interior design. He developed his personal signature over a well-rounded artistic trajectory: painting and fashion design studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RSID), a degree in architecture from Columbia, then UCLA, and a blazing early career.

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He cut his teeth in fashion with Calvin Klein, worked alongside Greg Lynn on a project to rebuild the World Trade Center, and even took a detour to work with a special effects company. With one job following on the heels of the previous one, in 2006 he founded his multi-disciplinary studio, Architecture At Large (AAL). The New York firm fast emerged as part of the conceptual design avant-garde, attracting prestigious clients.

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Cartier, Nike, Cappellini, the jeweler Delfina Delettrez, and the Manhattan restaurant Asia de Cuba adopted the immersive visual atmospheres rich in aesthetic references that are Rafael de Cárdenas’specialty. The designer cites his influences as the pioneers of Art Deco, the Prairie school of architecture and the Memphis movement.

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He borrows the clean, angular lines of a Frank Lloyd Wright or Bruce Goff, which he sets free through sophisticated use of color.

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