Once described as “a renaissance man with an intrinsic sense for color”, Rafael de Cárdenas is an architect and interior designer who, in his own eclectic way, has redefined the modern interior, after an architecture education at UCLA.
Known for his edgy and geometric and luxurious design, Cardenas began his career in fashion, working for Calvin Klein before moving into production design and finally founding Architecture at Large in 2006.
Architecture at Large preserve a small, dedicated, staff of professional designers with diverse backgrounds. Working with an international team of collaborators including artists, fabricators, and artisans, the studio is currently developing projects in North America, Eastern and Western Europe, and Asia.
‘WE FAVOR THE STRATEGIC OVER THE THEMATIC, THE COSMOPOLITAN OVER THE TYPOLOGICAL, AND THE ATMOSPHERIC OVER THE STATIC. EVER-FOCUSED ON THE CONTEMPORARY, WE TAKE DILIGENT NOTE OF THE PAST WHILE DAY-DREAMING THE FUTURE.’
Born in Cuba and raised in Manhattan Rafael de Cárdenas neon fingerprints have been everywhere, from the Op Art-inspired alternative art spaces he designed in New York, Miami, Athens and beyond for OHWOW gallery, to interiors for the lovers of Parker Posey and Jen Brill. In the spring of 2011, the interior designer released with New York’s Johnson Trading Gallery his first collection of furniture – geometric armoires, benches, and consoles, all built around the rotation, mirroring, and multiplication of shapes.
Since founding his multifaceted practice almost ten years ago, Rafael de Cárdenas has been at the creative helm of a multitude of projects from commissions by Cartier and Nike to jeweler Delfina Delettrez and Manhattan restaurant Asia de Cuba. The necklace he’s made in collaboration with Architecture at Large’s lead designer Robert Passov is the first piece of jewelry ever created by the studio. CNN speaks to Cardenas about Mad Max, his dream project, and Caitlyn Jenner.