15 Minutes with Agustin Reynoso
We caught up with Agustin Reynoso, Associate Studio Director at Pembrooke & Ives, for a 15-minute Q&A to learn more about the designer.
What role did design play in your childhood?
Though I come from a family with several generations of lawyers on my father’s side, my father had a strong interest in architecture and was constantly renovating our spaces, whether it our house in Mexico City or our weekend home. There was always a battalion of workmen parading through the hallways. I was constantly trying to figure out what was happening with the spaces and what the materials were that I was seeing coming in and out of the house. My mother, an artist, introduced me from an early age to theories of color, visual sequencing, and perspective. She gave me a more conceptual perception of the world and the possibility of creating spaces.
Where do you go to get inspired?
Location-wise: Paris or London whenever possible.
Book-wise: Recently I have been gravitating toward French, Italian and Austrian designers that became recognized between 1940 and 1980.
Mentally: A sound bath, a strenuous hike, or a long swim.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
An actor. I would love to have the ability to communicate feelings by inhabiting the protagonist of a story.
What is your favorite piece of furniture in your home?
A Jean Prouve armchair. I find it strangely evocative of industry and education. It ties New York, Paris, and Mexico City for me.
Who is a designer or architect that you look up to?
Where to start? I have so many. But one of my all-time favorites is Louis Khan. There is something so quiet and inevitable about his work, the honesty of the selection of his materials, that I find very appealing.
What is a design trend you wish would end?
The use of cheap looking metals. I think the introduction of metal into the language of architecture is a very powerful way to create tension between materials, when the metal is allowed to express what its true nature is.
What is your favorite architectural structure?
Hagia Sophia, because the enormous marble thresholds are incredibly worn out by the number of people that have passed by them. The sounds, the smells, the way light penetrates the building, one feels like time is suspended.
If you could own any piece of art, which would it be?
A large AI Sculpture by Refik Anadol. I find the incorporation of data into the production of his trance-producing pieces fascinating.
What is your favorite restaurant in New York City?
Saraghina in Bed-Stuy. It is not fancy at all, but the environment is so comfortable, so diverse, the service is down to earth and fun and the food is exceptionally good.
What is your favorite place to take an out-of-towner visiting New York?
It used to be the Tenement Museum, when it was still rough around the edges, I thought it told a story of New York that not everyone sees. Rockefeller Center, which I think is a quintessential New York architectural expression. Park Avenue, to explain how zoning impacted the shape of the city. Grand Central, because it is so New York. But best of all, eating in different places around the city.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to become a designer?
Be honest. In your design, in your use of materials, in the expression of your design gestures, in guiding the expectations of the people that hire you, with the people that make your designs come to life, with the people that you collaborate with.
Play nice. Because no one wants to play with someone that does not know how to play.
Have fun! You are one of the lucky people that get to do something incredibly rewarding. So enjoy it and be grateful for it.