Art Design

Rafael Prieto's Trick of the Light

Partnership is a daily practice for the creative director of Savvy Studio and co-founder of avant-garde lightmaker Marrow, who looks for meaning and intention in all projects he joins. This winter, Rafael Prieto’s unique fabric light sculptures that he created with French artist Loup Sarion take on new emotions in Grand Tour Hospitality’s Holiday Bar. The sister of stylish NYC eateries Saint Theo’s and American Bar debuted new renderings of Marrow’s objects—made by hand-stretching linen over oblique shaped steel—that illuminated original Alex Katz paintings for what the designer explains as “an unexpected sense of tranquility."

Sarah Powless: What qualities do you look for in a potential partner?

Rafael Prieto: Intention and thoughtfulness. Technique of course matters, but it comes secondary for me. There must be an emotional motive to do it, and creativity is indeed an emotion. I have to like and appreciate the person and their work.

SP: Nowadays, collaborations seem to be a mainstay in the creative world. Why do you think organizations and individuals are so keen to team up?

RP: I think everyone wants to have a conversation, dialogue, and expand their possibilities and share... at least I do.

SP: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced when collaborating with another creative personality?

RP: Process. The purpose is always there and clear, but sometimes—almost every time—it can take a minute to find the right path. And even that can lead to a more successful collaboration! At the beginning you might just be talking. That little moment of uncertainty can be the real solution.