Esteemed New York-based architect Rafeal de Cárdenas is known for his contemporary approach to design worldwide. He fills us in on how he’s spending his days in isolation.


RuPaul’s Drag Race UK (left); Best of Ikebana (right)

Best show you’ve recently iso-binged?

A toss-up between RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Alfred Hitchock Presents, and The Outer Limits. Into Devs too.

What film would you highly recommend to watch while pretending to work?

David Lynch’s Dune. Endlessly re-watchable, exquisite unworldliness, ripe for times like these. I’ve also recently enjoyed Robert Altman’s Prêt-à-Porter and The Wiz, which I had not seen since it came out. Flawed but spectacular films. 

What book has helped you get to sleep through the surreal quiet nights of late?

The Best of Ikebana books published by Shufunotomo in the early sixties. A gorgeously designed survey of the various schools of flower arrangement. I’ve been working on arrangements around the house and general dialogue of objects. I suppose it brings up In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki as well.  

Tell us your go-to, home-made comfort dish to ease the worst of existential crisis?

I recently made my own garam masala which has been great to have around for earthy but spicy Indian-Inspired flavors. 

We all need new procrastination tools in these uncertain times, what exhilarating hobby have you recently added to your resumé?

The flower arrangements mentioned above. And cooking, of course. But if anything, I’ve dived deeper into my work. I certainly count myself fortunate to have so many interests. A lot of back-burner projects coming to the forefront.

Increased mindfulness is essential in this climate — what are your top tips for getting out of your head?

Running and biking have been key for me. Since flowers are hard to come by at the moment, I’ve clipped few branches on a hike I went on this past weekend… Best not to recommend doing that. But I enjoy watching them bloom at home.

One piece of advice for everyone trying to work from home?

Never underestimate your atmosphere.

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