Q&A with Rendell Fernandez, Design Director
New York City
Parsons, Environmental Design
John Saladino Group
RFI Studio, Self-Owned design firm
Where do you go for inspiration?
Travel is the best education. Architecture is a three-dimensional form that is meant to be seen in person, not in pictures.
What is the key to becoming a successful designer?
The same things that make one successful in any field. Have a passion for what you have to spend a lot of your waking life doing. Work at it even when it’s not going according to plan. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
Tell us about your product design experience.
I designed a line of door hardware for Hamilton Sinkler that utilized sleek, crisp lines and refined finishes.
Have you had a project where the client gave you freedom to design as you like?
We are not artists. We are designers, and as such, we have to solve problems using principles that are found in art. It’s an applied art! Also, a client’s input is vital to creating something that is multi-layered and makes every project different.
How do you approach designing country clubs versus residences?
Residences are lived in, not visited in most cases. When you spend that much time in a space, you have years to discover what works and what does not. Here we have to work on studying every aspect of our design to ensure that it can stand up to that kind of scrutiny. A lobby, restaurant, or country club for that matter has to be built quickly and work operationally. We occupy these for less time and they are not scrutinized in the same way. There is a larger reliance on creating theater in these spaces.