R HUGHES is honored to announce that De La Vega Designs is joining the showroom. Mark de La Vega opened De La Vega Designs in 2010 within a 7,000-square-foot loft in a historic dock building in Brooklyn creating bespoke furnishings for luxury retail clients such as Harry Winston, Bergdorf Goodman and Tiffany & Co.
Taking cues from a variety of global and historical references, DLV uses the highest-quality materials to re-invent forgotten techniques.
R HUGHES: What instigated you to open a 7,000 square foot space in 2010? This wasn’t a particularly easy time for the design industry.
De La Vega Designs: When we first moved into this space, it was a total steal. The rent was low, the space was gorgeous, expansive, and by the water – and we knew we would grow into it as we did. However, starting off we were just thrilled to have a place to work that was beautiful and inspiring. We used to skateboard around the loft and installed a rope swing for our kids.
Now… we have the space designed to function as a busy atelier.
RH: What is the collaboration process like between you two?
DLV: We have a great understanding of each other’s roles, and our duties are siloed for the most part—design vs operations. We do draw inspiration from similar sources and agree on most everything—we understand each other well. Maggie nudges me on certain things, but my process is more instinctual and creative, a bit like lightning.
RH: What was that first commission process like with David Collins for Madonna? Having this be one of your first residential projects is certainly a feat.
DLV: It was a thrill, and at the same time very scary. We were new and inexperienced, but we knew it was something we had to pull off. I remember volunteering to deliver it personally and waive the delivery fee. The table was huge and heavy, and navigating it through the stairs to place in front of the fireplace in the Great Room gave me a tremendous amount of pride.
It wasn’t until later that we realized just how important this table would be to the company’s success. It became a symbol of our commitment to quality and service, not only for our clients but also for ourselves.
RH: DLV designs are playful, yet refined. Mark, how do you strike a balance?
DLV: I approach my designs as if they were a sculpture. It tends to be a process rooted in historical references, which are usually from early modernism, but I always like to branch out. There is definitely something playful about the way I work, and perhaps that comes from my enjoyment of what I do. I love my job!
RH: Using materials like Coquille D’oeuf, Verre Eglomise, Cast Aluminium, Silicone Bronze, Eggshell, leather & more to create eye-catching pieces through unconventional & long forgotten methods. Firstly, what is your preferred material to work with? (You can see a list of all materials used by DLV HERE)
DLV: That would be like choosing your favorite child! I truly love them all. I think that’s part of the reason I gravitated towards design in the first place—to be able to explore new materials and new ways of using them. I believe it’s important not just to use the same tool over and over again, but also to learn how each tool can be used differently, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.
RH: Secondly, what is one of those forgotten techniques you’ve enjoyed discovering & enjoyed exploring?
The Coquille D’Oeuf, eggshell mosaic, is definitely the most special technique. Most people have never heard of it and it allows me to play and explore my background in fine art and graphic design. I love working with the eggshells because they are so fragile. It’s like a puzzle—grouping the fragments together. The broken edges can even be used as part of the design or just left as an interesting texture.
My work has always been about combining different things that I love into one piece.
RH: What is the most challenging technique when creating pieces?
DLV: Working with wood and metal, I find the two to be equally challenging. Both have their own sets of rules that must be respected in order to become adept at craftsmanship.
RH: You’ve mentioned before that “A well made, well designed piece of furniture becomes more than a reliable friend, it becomes a member of the family”…what is one piece in your home do you view this way?
DLV: The Abuelo Bureau is actually the piece that triggered the quote that you are referencing. Not only did the original come from my grandparents home in Mexico, but it has now evolved into a beautiful and well made collection. I interact with it every day. My kids interact with it everyday… decades later, generations later.
RH: We are big on monthly playlists at R HUGHES with our OFFICE Radio series. That begs the question, what song of his would you add to our next playlist?’
DLV: Right now, anything from Samm Henshaw – his song Broke is a real ear worm.