Rafael de Cardenas

New York, architectureatlarge.com
We hesitated from including de Cardenas on this list for years because we thought he might be too well-known, having designed hip-yet-haute interiors for the likes of Nike, Cartier, and Jessica Stam. Then he nabbed the AD100 and Maison et Objet’s Designer of the Year, and we stopped overthinking it. Better late than never.

What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
I think America’s greatest export is a certain kind of optimism. I’m excited by the problem of how to fold American optimism into American design.

What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
I can’t get too specific yet, but there are a number of upcoming projects I’m excited about. In general we seem to be working on a larger scale, coming up, which is great. But I also always love the smaller-scale project that allows us to work with a finer grain of detail. The line of eyewear we just designed with Gentle Monster, for example. Also, 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the studio. We’re currently preparing a monograph to be published in celebration of the occasion. That will be coming out next fall.

What inspires/informs your work in general?
Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie, David Lynch, Madonna. Bruce Springsteen, right now. I have a roster of about ten movies that serve as an endless source, for me — a source of more than I could hope to say. I keep coming back to them.
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