Where were you born, where do you currently reside, where did you graduate?
I was born in Sancti-Spiritus, Cuba, and I currently reside in New York. I have an
undergraduate degree in architecture from The Ohio State University and a
graduate degree in architecture from University of Illinois Chicago.
What do you enjoy the most about working closely with the interior design community?
I’m inspired by the pace of advancement we are making as an industry around
environmental and social problems. There’s a lot of work ahead of us, but I’m
optimistic when I see the energy and contributions we bring as an industry and as
professionals to make our communities and our planet better. Our clients count
on us to help them deliver purpose-driven places and spaces that align with their
own mission and vision, and I’m proud to work at a company like Gensler that is
committed to leading the industry toward a net zero future by rethinking the way
we specify materials and design the built environment.
Can you share a success story in which you collaborated with a designer to solve a
problem or enhance their design?
I have had the good fortune to work closely with incredible firms and incredible
designers. They were all great collaborators with no egos or hidden agendas.
The end result was amazing every time, and our personal and professional
relationship got stronger as we both learned a lot in the process.
Where’s your favorite place for inspiration in New York?
I love NYC’s amazing “high-low” range, and its ability to democratize everything.
You can go to Carnegie Hall to hear amazing music from a full world-class
orchestra, or you can pause at the 42nd Street subway station near the
red-line/S-line and hear equally amazing music from buskers. Just several feet away from the best luxury brands, there are sidewalk retailers selling crafts,
affordable fashion, and art.
Favorite hobby or special interest outside of work?
I have a couple of hobbies. I spend the summertime landscaping in Connecticut
and gardening in Maine. In the winter, I do renovation projects on a 200-year-old
Connecticut barn and creating art by knitting miles of wool yarn into spools. I’m
planning to do a show in the near future.
Top magazines, podcasts or newspapers?
I am a frequent reader of the New York Times and Financial Times (especially
the “How to Spend It In…” special section). I also have two magazines that I
love: Monocle magazine and Interior Design magazine.
Favorite aspect of working from home, hybrid or in the office?
I’m a big fan of working from the office, and not such a big fan of working
remotely (from home or anywhere else) for any creative activities. I love
collaborating with my team in person and sitting near young designers, even
when I’m doing focused work.
What is your biggest in-office pet peeve and pleasure?
My biggest pet peeve is the speed of the WiFi. My greatest in-office pleasure is
working at Gensler in a beautiful office, side-by-side with incredibly creative and
Favorite travel destination in the world?
I couldn’t pick a single one, so I have four travel destinations depending on the
mood. Top of the list is London (urban holiday), Rome (lifestyle holiday), Santorini
(chilling holiday) and St. Barts (seaside holiday).
If you could travel to any time and place in history, where and when would you choose
Florence on March 25, 1436 – the opening day of Brunelleschi’s Cúpula of Santa
María de las Flores.
What was your favorite subject in college?
Latin American Literature
Best piece of professional advice you have ever received?
In my third year of architecture school, my professor John McDermott, in the
middle of a typical design lecture, took a pause and gave us an incredibly
passionate speech about “purpose”. It was a tour de force moment I will never
forget. A teacher exercising his responsibility to mentor young minds on the
importance of always doing the right thing, no matter what. It had nothing to do with design, but it had everything to do with design. And life. And civic
responsibility. And professional ethics.
A fun fact about yourself?
I love to dance (and I’m good at it), and I love to sing (and I’m not good at it).
One goal you would like to accomplish with IIDA NY?
I would like to diversify the pipeline of designers entering our industry. I firmly
believe that design benefits from diverse perspectives, cultures, and lived
experiences. I think it’s imperative for the design industry to connect with young
students to introduce them to architecture and interior design as professional
pathways for them. Through mentorship programs and internship opportunities
that target underserved communities, we can cultivate interest in our industry,
empower minority students to pursue the profession, and create a rich pipeline of