We, as the Designer Interviews ("DI") had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to interview award-winning, most creative and innovative Ricardo De Castro ("RDC").
Ricardo De Castro is an architect notable for his unique ability to create spaces of great symbolism and high sensorial impact. His passion for design and nature inspires him to transform surfaces and materials into sustainable and enduring works of art. Is relevant and important to our society and community, due to his compromise in designing projects that maximize aesthetics and funcionality and ensure the coexistence of our future generation.
Ricardo De Castro Designs
We are pleased to share with you original and innovative design work by Ricardo De Castro.
Designer Interview of Ricardo De Castro:
DI: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
RDC : I always knew that I wanted to be a designer and architect. I do not remember a time in my life where I thought about pursuing a different career. My mother is a canvas painter and my father an architect, so there is definitely art and design running through my veins. I was educated in a familial atmosphere, where we were surrounded by design, art and jewelry through our family business and hobbies. This environment became very natural to me and made me certain that I should follow a career as an architect. Following my passion, I completed my studies in architecture in Barcelona at Univesitat Internacional de Catalunya. I also hold a degree in Interior Design and an Industrial Design Master’s Degree both from Scuola Politecnica di Design in Milan Italy.
DI: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
RDC : The headquarters of our Design Studio are located in my home town of Barranquilla, Colombia. Here with our carefully selected team of experts, that include architects, interior designers, a 3d specialist, a graphic designer and a marketing director, we create all of our projects for our national and international clients. Our studio seeks a collaborative environment where all our team members can easily interact in any given project thanks to our open space design. We also created an interior garden and a lounge area where we can all take a break, drink some coffee or eat some popcorn from our vintage popcorn machine. Our team is always up-to-date not only in the new design and architectural trends, but we also challenge them to be aware of our surroundings, the needs of our communities, new lifestyle trends, environmental and social needs so we can stay in the frontline and provide innovative designs and solutions for our clients.
DI: What is "design" for you?
RDC : For me, design is a talent you are born with, and once you find it in you, it must be studied, experienced and developed to always find solutions for our communities. Being a designer is such a great responsibility, because design is all around us.
DI: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
RDC : I always look for projects that can represent a difference and a contribution to a community. Through my designs, I wish to contribute to improve our world, to represent our differences and seek for inclusiveness. I challenge myself to always give my best in every project, I enjoy the challenges of every new creation.
DI: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
RDC : Nature. Nature’s design is perfect. It´s variety, diversity, the happiness it causes and the solutions that it offers, as well as the colors, shapes, forms that is shows us, are a real masterpiece. There is a lot we can learn just from observing nature, and the closer we look into it the clearer it becomes that we have a great responsibility as designers, as we shape the world around us.
DI: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
RDC : My first design for a company, was for a high-end furniture store called Koombea in Barranquilla , Colombia. The store is still open, and I find myself visiting it whenever I travel to Milan, as it helps me remember my journey over the years.
DI: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
RDC : My favorite material is wood. It allows you to create almost anything. It is a long lasting natural, thermic and transformative material that can be used to create any shape and environment.
DI: When do you feel the most creative?
RDC : This is not an easy question to answer because I do not feel creative at a particular time or moment, it just flows and comes to me when I least expect it!
DI: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
RDC : When designing I always seek for functionality, aesthetics and sustainability. We look for an ideal functionality, where our clients feel interpreted in their lifestyle. Aesthetics are also essential to all our projects and their commercialization, because we look for solutions that please us, identify and contribute to a more beautiful world. Lastly, we always consider our surroundings and environment to make our designs sustainable. It is no secret that we often face budget limitations, but sustainability can add to these budgets with a more agile return on investment.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
RDC : Without emotion there is no design. It fuels us with inspiration and challenges us to use our imagination where all our creations come from. Both emotion and imagination have no limit, so there is always so much to discover and create. Designing for me is like a roller coaster ride, you can feel many emotions through the entire process! At the start, you get very excited, then you find yourself at the top of the cliff and your adrenaline goes high and your emotions start changing every second. Design is ultimately about passion, love, happiness and sometimes even frustration.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
RDC : Happiness for overcoming all the challenges presented. Satisfaction that we were able to create all that we imagined, and that we successfully presented a solution to our clients. Pride that we can show all we accomplished.
DI: What makes a design successful?
RDC : A successful design accomplishes all of the client and users’ objectives and expectations and achieving it with the outmost professionalism.
DI: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
RDC : A great design must be functional, aesthetic and sustainable.
DI: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
RDC : Designers must be aware of their impact in our societies and environment, we are responsible and must create them as an example and source of inspiration for our communities.
DI: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
RDC : My inspiration comes from my heart and evolves and shapes through my knowledge and experience. I find inspiration by observing nature and through traveling all over the world.
DI: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
RDC : I do not have one specific design style. I work through research and investigation to adapt to each client’s design scope and style. The challenge is to be able to express in each new design or creation the client’s esthetic thus achieving exclusivity.
DI: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
RDC : I currently live in Barranquilla Colombia, but I also have a design background from my years of study in Spain and Italy. This mixture of experiences has allowed me to have the ability to change, to open up to different cultures and interpret and understand them.
DI: How do you work with companies?
RDC : To work successfully with any company, we must understand as designers how we support the company’s objectives and needs. To do this, we must study and research them and their industry to have a further understanding of their necessities and how we can contribute to their solutions. To us it is also a priority to keep deadlines and an organized and cohesive team where we can work to be able to work in coordination.
DI: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
RDC : Based on my experience, for a collaboration to work between a company and a designer, there should only be one contact person that should also be the decision maker. When selecting a good designer, companies should revise their work experience and portfolio and prefer those that will be able to interpret any business, understanding its operation, processes, brand, product and client. It is important to find a well- rounded professional that is able to work in a team and is adaptable and capable of working with various types of clients.
DI: Can you talk a little about your design process?
RDC : I usually follow the same process. I start by listening and interacting with my client to interpret what their expectations are. All designs should start by this conversation where we can identify the client’s life style and esthetic.
DI: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
RDC : Plants, that show my sensitivity to preserve them. A bed that can fit an entire family will always make me happy. A sofa where families and friends can share moments of joy. A lamp and lounge chair where I can enjoy time alone and find productivity.
DI: Can you describe a day in your life?
RDC : I always have a fully planned schedule where I balance the time I need to work with my team in all ongoing projects with time for myself, my family and my daughters.
DI: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
RDC : You must prepare yourself by seeking knowledge through quality education. Never stop learning and researching. Pay attention to every detail and never forget that all your projects and designs have an impact in our society.
DI: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
RDC : It is positive that you are always meeting new people and their lifestyles. We also have the opportunity to get to know new cultures, organizations and companies that allow presents us a unique chance of always learning and improving. On the negative side, there are limited budgets and time that that does allow us to always do more.
DI: What is your "golden rule" in design?
RDC : Never forget who you are designing for.
DI: What skills are most important for a designer?
RDC : First and foremost, designers must learn from their mistakes, always stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies and show respect for their team and clients.
DI: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
RDC : We always work with music, and as most designers we use tools and software like Sketchup. But before using any tool we invest enormous amounts of time in research. We are also very careful in the selection of our team, because we understand the importance of having well rounded professionals with exceptional attitudes and aptitudes. This is also why we focus on constant training and giving feed back to our team, for they are our most valuable and important investment.
DI: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
RDC : I am very organized and always have a schedule for all my project where I organize them by short term deadlines, calculating the time I need to work on each one to complete them.
DI: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
RDC : It all depends on the project’s complexity, but we always seek to take into consideration our client’s needs and based on them establish a deadline.
DI: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
RDC : How are you able to continuously create unique and different designs?
DI: What was your most important job experience?
RDC : I do not have a job experience that I can consider as most important. Each project I have participated in has given me a unique experience and I am eternally grateful for all of them.
DI: Who are some of your clients?
RDC : Some of our clients are: KFC Latin America Ecuador El Sultan Group Cartagena Koombea Developers Barranquilla Dulcerna Restaurants Barranquilla Fit Choices Restaurants Barranquilla y Cartagena Optica Panorama Centro Comercial Viva Barranquilla Mod Loft Miami Four Points Hotel Barranquilla
DI: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
RDC : I enjoy projects that represent a challenge because to accomplish them I need to research and learn new ideas and concepts.
DI: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
RDC : My future plans include completing the necessary experience to be able to win the Pritzker, and the Colombian and Iberoamerican Bienal.
DI: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
RDC : We work as a team. I have a leadership role, but we all give our impute to create the concept. I listen and appreciate all our team members experience and branch of expertise, for they are important to the success of all projects.
DI: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
RDC : I am currently working in a shopping mall that is focused on sustainable architecture and will be a new experience for our city of Barranquilla. We are also currently restoring a colonial building that will be transformed into a boutique hotel in a historical city.
DI: How can people contact you?
RDC : You can contact us by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find more contact information in our website www.ricardodecastro.com.
DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
RDC : I would like to share that it is my dream to be able to contribute in gratitude to my city and country through projects that bring solutions to our communities.