Rafael de Cárdenas decided to focus on architecture a little more than a decade ago after he started out as a Calvin Klein collection designer in the '90s. He now has his own firm, Architecture at Large, and you can see his work on a number of high-profile projects—for companies like BMW and HBO—plus, he has his own furniture line and designed Kutsher’s, Jeffrey Chodorow’s Manhattan restaurant.
His latest project, titled “Stepin
One 2,” is currently on display at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City as part of its NYC Makers biennial (you can see a couple of looks by Hood by Air's Shayne Oliver as well), in which he created a nightclub environment "aking to a temple," that refers to '80s club culture. As it's explained in the press notes:
"While the language of the design is inspired by de Cárdenas’ distinct experience of 80s club culture, the result is a transcendental, otherworldly meeting place that in many ways pay homage to the evolution of NYC nightlife’s spirit and aesthetic into present day dance culture. At the center of the space is an altar-like structure composed of four tall columns, fabricated from steel and expanded metal, that command the energy of the space and along with the stair-cased perimeter, create a feeling of ascension. Lining the perimeter are live succulents encased with low lighting, a symbolic form of fuel supplying light and energy to the space. Purple and blue lighting washes the entire space in an ethereal mood, while strong patterns are used throughout to distort the viewer’s perspective and shift the eye between planes. Together, all elements bring the viewer farther away from a fixed reality, into the fantasy and spectacle of optical illusion."
NYC Makers continues through October 12. See more of the images of Cardenas' installation below: