“I loved to play with action figures as a boy,” says Alejandro Barrios-Carrero, an alumnus of the AAS Interior Design program in the School of Constructed Environments. Unlike other kids, though, Barrios-Carrero wasn’t acting out scenarios—he was creating entire worlds.
As proprietor of ABC, an internationally renowned architecture and interior design firm, Barrios-Carrero still employs his rich imagination daily. “I come up with a concept by inventing a story about what the spaces want to be and why.” His work blends outdoor and indoor spaces, a style he observed growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, and refined at Parsons. “One of the most valuable concepts I learned at Parsons was how to bring the outside in and the inside out,” says Barrios-Carrero.
Running an international design practice is not without its challenges, but modern technology and good communication skills allow Barrios-Carrero to manage a stable of global clients and collaborators. “I don’t like designing alone,” he says. “For me the best ideas come from teams.”
Those ideas have brought Barrios-Carrero great acclaim. He recently won the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Design Award for Juvia, a Miami restaurant that reflects the city’s natural environment and architecture.
Accommodating the local context and culture is at the heart of Barrios-Carrero’s work. “The first thing I do when I begin a project is visit the site and try to understand and respect the built environment and surrounding culture,” he says. “I try to come up with design solutions that blend into the existing landscape, making it hard to remember what was there before my addition.”