Rafael de Cárdenas’s First Furniture Line Is a Visual Feast

The Brooklyn architect teams with Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams for a 19-piece collection that gracefully toes the classic-modern divide with room for self-expression.

All images courtesy of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

Given the manifold accomplishments of Rafael de Cárdenas—designing a Kenzo boutique in Seoul, Ulla Johnson’s Manhattan showroom, and even an ice-expedition yacht—you’d be forgiven for thinking the Brooklyn multihyphenate had already masterminded a home collection that mimics the sly sensuality of his interiors. But that wasn’t the case, so American furniture purveyor Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams came calling. Together the two forces created a 19-piece collection of heirloom-quality furnishings that combine classic modern silhouettes with the power of self-expression.

Whether a voluptuous swivel chair evoking 1940s French Deco or a clean-lined walnut console, each piece invites comfort and stands out in a variety of settings—or doesn’t, depending on one’s preference. “By changing the color and fabric, you really create a different mood,” he says. “The forms are ready for you to go wild, or not at all.” This is largely thanks to MG+BW Home’s repertoire of more than 500 fabrics, which can create distinct, versatile pieces that pack a visual punch. The graceful fusion of classic and contemporary is intentional: de Cárdenas specifically drew from films and references that molded his design sensibilities during his formative years. 

Seeing the collection through, of course, required de Cárdenas to visit the furniture mainstay’s North Carolina factory, which has operated continuously since 1989. The experience proved illuminating: “[It’s] a place where American craftsmanship has a home,” he says, awestruck by the diversity of artisans keeping the factory in motion. “It makes me think we as a country are going to be okay.” 

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