This year’s Collective Design saw Fernando Mastrangelo turn heads with his ethereal Drift Collection. Interior Design awarded him Best in Show at the inaugural NYCxDESIGN Awards before he hauled the collection cross-country to exhibit at the recently-opened THE NEW Gallery in Los Angeles. The self-proclaimed wanderlust finds inspiration while globe-trekking (a Patagonian glacier inspired Drift) or experimenting with cutting-edge materials in his Bushwick studio. Here, Mastrangelo clues us into projects on the horizon.
Interior Design: Where did you grow up, and how did it influence your work?
Fernando Mastrangelo: I grew up in Mexico, which has had a great impact on my work. I think of Mexican architecture the most—it is simplified, geometric, and uses unique materials.
ID: What are a few recent projects?
FM: We did our first major architectural installation for the Thakoon flagship store just in time for New York Fashion Week. We cast 1,700 square feet of cement walls using our furniture technique and created a series of displays. This summer, our studio also developed a custom wall sculpture for the Tao Group and Rockwell Group at Avra, a new restaurant uptown.
We’re about to launch with Holly Hunt and ABC Home, both of which are our very first large scale collaborations. I’m also excited about a line of carpets that we will launch next year with Edward Fields.
ID: Which projects are you most proud of and why?
FM: The work we’re doing in cast sand. We presented the Drift Collection at Collective Design Fair this year and it’s been my most inspiring work to date. Sand has become my new fascination. Right now, we’re experimenting with new techniques and methods of casting.
ID: Which person, place, or thing—inside the industry or out—inspires you?
FM: I’m inspired by nature mainly, but also by other industries, especially fashion, architecture, and interiors. Some of the artists I love are Nick Van Woert, David Altmejd, Matthew Barney, Anish Kapoor, and Richard Serra. In fashion I follow Marie Saint Pierre, Yohji Yamamoto, Rick Owens, and Label Under Construction. In furniture design, I love the work of Fredrikson Stallard.
ID: Latest design obsession?
FM: I’ve been closely following Joseph Dirand. I think his interiors will define this generation. The way he moves between the language of minimalism and classic French interiors is so subtle and complex, yet seems effortless.
ID: Latest interiors pet peeve?
FM: The over-reliance on Scandinavian design. I love reduction in art and design, but it seems to me that Scandinavian influence has led to such minimalism that some craftsmanship feels lost. New processes and technology are closing doors to the handmade object, which I don't mind, but I’d like see a harmonious balance.
ID: An item you couldn’t live without?
FM: I sometimes wish I could keep some of the commissioned pieces I do for my personal collection. But I also love not having too many objects in my life.
ID: Most admired historic interior or building?
FM: Luis Barragán’s home.
ID: Best part of working in Brooklyn?
FM: Brooklyn is turning so quickly, but for now, it remains the creative epicenter for art and design.
ID: How has social media impacted your career?
FM: Having direct contact with the audience has expanded the reach of the studio. This is exciting because it is breaks with traditional forms of visibility. Not relying on gallery giants and corporate-style sales is the future, and yet it’s still the wild west. Social media is the opportunity to define who you are and not have to abide by institutional standards.