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Photo: Adrian Gaut (Cárdenas)

My Favorite Things

While designing men’s wear at Calvin Klein in the 1990s, Rafael de Cárdenas read an article on Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao that prompted him to give up his career in fashion and enroll at U.C.L.A.’s architecture school. Since returning to his native New York and starting his own firm nearly two decades ago, he’s traveled far and wide to mastermind spaces for the likes of Baccarat and Cartier, but his most recent project—a bold furniture collection created in collaboration with Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams—has kept him closer to home. Here, de Cárdenas shares the items he can’t live without



Multi-Zip Case in Panama

“All of my important travel documents (passport, vaccine cards, Visas) live in the yellow zipper compartment. Euros go in the blue, American dollars in the green, and receipts accumulate in the red.”

Hirota Tsumugi


Vintage Kasuri Tsumugi Silk Kimono Fabric

“I buy vintage kimono fabrics here and there to make patchwork throw pillows, but I recently decided that I wasn’t into the visual clutter of pillows and took them to my tailor to make placemats. The best use I’ve come across so far.”



XT-6 Advanced Mesh Trainers

“Salomons since 2014-ish and every day since… I wear the styles that have the toggle tie as opposed to laces.”

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams


Lotus Pedestal Side Table by Rafael de Cardenas

“I like the asymmetry and how it creates a bit of tension with space and gravity whilst also being somewhat quiet and organic. The only piece in our Rafael de Càrdenas for Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams collection that lightly rocks the boat.”

The Elder Statesman


Men’s Slouchy Check Beanie Hat

“Soft, cozy, and feels slightly smarter in a post-Covid world.”



Concentrated Ginseng Rescue Ampoule

“This serum slightly tingles upon application, which, in my mind, means it’s burning away dead skin cells and wrinkles. It’s part of my nighttime self-soothing ritual.”

Soft Baroque


“New Surface Strategies” Armchair

“One of my absolute favorite design duos in the biz! An earlier Soft Baroque work and an instant classic. We are working with them on some new projects… Stay tuned!”



Green 365 Hoodie

“This hoodie has become my ‘neighborhood’ garment, though the neighborhood has ever-expanding parameters. I prefer the separate pockets over the more casual kangaroo pocket typically on sweatshirts.”

Edie Parker


Vanity Tray in Raspberry Swirl

“A frozen acid trip whilst watching The Wiz… but functional. It’s put to good use as a makeshift coffee table on my new velvet ottoman, which takes up the full space of where my coffee table used to be. ”

Ilaria Icardi


Spaceman Pendant

I’d like this as a gift, please. I want to use it as a keychain so that I can play with the limb articulation in my pocket. I’d love to secretly have a spaceman in my pocket…”

Casa Bosques Chocolates


Pure Dark Chocolate 74% Chocolate Bar

“My favorite chocolate brand: small, responsible, and thoughtfully made. Plus, the leftover gorgeous packaging decorates my fridge door. I often give these as host and hostess gifts.”

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