Rafael de Cárdenas, Designer of the year, talks about Paris and Miami [fr]

"Maison&Objet Americas" 2016 has chosen Rafael de Cárdenas, a Cuban American, as Designer of the year. During the time of the fair, he presented "Neon Jungle" a Pop Up in the Design District, an area he is particularly fond of, which he describes as "a city within a city" that is constantly changing.


- e-Toile: For the second edition of the Maison & Objet Americas that will take place in Miami from May 10 to 13, 2016, you have been selected as the Designer of the Year. Knowing that the fair acknowledges the most outstanding names in the design and decor industries, what does that mean to you personally and professionally?

  • Rafael de Cárdenas: The acknowledgment from Maison & Objet is an honor. It is incredibly humbling to be included with such big names in the world of design, and a big vote of confidence that we are making an impact in the field.

- e-Toile: The event, which highlights the North and South American presence in the Design and Architectural industry, brings together an international class of creative minds, visitors, and professionals to Miami. In your opinion, what does this fair with a definite French flair Design convey to “the Americas” more specifically?

  • Rafael de Cárdenas: France - and Paris more specifically - is a global beacon of lifestyle and culture. Its particular form of aspiration is likely one of France’s biggest exports. Miami seems perfectly poised to host Maison et Objet, in large part due to its own multi-cultural population.

- e-Toile: Miami is internationally famous for its Art Deco features and its beaches. It is also to some extent recognized today for its Design District, its Wynwood murals and Miami Beach editions of the international fairs, Art Basel and Design Miami. For you, what is the most appealing part of Miami’s renewed mosaic, and what does a fair like Maison & Objet offer to the Americas?

  • Rafael de Cárdenas: Miami is a young city, not only in comparison to Paris or other European capitals but also to most American cities. It has an interesting role as a host of a huge seasonal population of second home owners. By some definition, it is a place where people come to live out their fantasies. That makes it a perfect location for art- and design-related fairs and conferences.

- e-Toile: If given the opportunity, what building would you like to design or redesign in Florida? And in France?

  • Rafael de Cárdenas: A Miami version of a tower. I am interested in the challenge of optimizing unique tropical ocean views and the ever increasing city skyline. Also - a museum of Miami’s vice? On another note, the design district has definitely become one of Miami’s most interesting areas. It is constantly evolving and it’s exciting to be a part of it.

In France, besides all the beautiful Haussmannian architecture, I love French modernism and how it fits into Paris’ fairly uniform architecture. Perhaps it would be interesting to work on an addition to La defense, something that engages that part of the city?


- e-Toile: You are giving a talk on May 10th, and also designing a pop-up in the Design District. Could you tell us more about this project? What else would you advise our readers to go and see during this coming M&O Americas?

  • Rafael de Cárdenas: Definitely come see my talk - I will speak about the evolution of my work and the role Miami Vice played in sharpening my sense of taste. The pop-up, called NEON JUNGLE, will be a cool place to hang out and rest your feet with a popsicle while perusing the design district. Every evening during happy hour we will present a new custom flavor of PopLab popsicles.

The Miami Design District plays a huge part in the city’s increasingly cosmopolitan and global attitude. The district has assembled really trailblazing architects and designers to mold the now iconic look and feel of this city within a city. The Miami ICA also has its new home in the district; the small museum is world-class and definitely worth a visit.

May 6, 2016.

  • To learn more about the fair Maison&Objet Americas, click here.

Last modified on 16/05/2016

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