When the tech and media company Black Ocean acquired a four-story, 6,500-square-foot firehouse in New York, Rafael de Cárdenas responded with a slick industrial envelope, pops of color, and lots of zigzags, which have become the firm’s signature. Photography by Floto + Warner Studio/Otto.


Rafael de Cardenas 

We have alot to learn from interior designer Rafael de Cardenas by rummaging through his home in Little Italy, New York. First, we’re thrilled he scours eBay for home furnishings. Consider this playful purple chair (seen above) that he picked up on eBay and reupholstered initially for a client. “I think it looks like a hamburger,” he tells SightUnseen on a sweet visit to his pad, “or like Chairy from Pee-wee’s Playhouse. It’s smiling at you.”

Other treasures? Old National Geographicstrashy sci-fi novels, and  Eileen Gray lamps. To learn more about Rafael, check out Architecture at Large

(Photo: Mike Vorrasi for SightUnseen. Text by Jauretsi)

Rafael de Cardenas

The “Semi-Precious” table transforms into a variety of configurations, provoking both common and unusual seating capabilities.  The use of different metals and wood allows not only the spatial arrangement to change, but the visual one as well.  Most useful, the smaller tables can me made into a long rectangle or massive square, capable of seating anywhere form 6-12 people on the six mini benches. The table top surfaces are wrapped in brass or copper with a repetitive counter sunk screw detail.  The top is supported by protruding solid ash legs with cut-outs that reveal another wood and grain beneath, enhancing the nesting effect of the benches.  

Don’t miss his Design Miami Design Talk tonight from 6-7pm, hosted by Stefano Tonchi, editor in chief of W Magazine