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May 15, 2013updated May 22, 2013

The Other A-Rod

By Chris Boyle

aprWhen Alexander Purcell Rodrigues came to New York from England about six years ago he was just Alexander Rodrigues.  Of course Alexander Emanuel Rodriguez was already on the scene with his $275 million contract, hitting homers for the New York Yankees and otherwise making headlines.  With the latter going by only his first and last names, and often A-Rod, the British version added his middle name.


Ironically, the now Los Angeles based designer’s career has been tracking better than his baseball namesake recently.  With write-ups from The Financial Times, The Los Angeles Times and GQ to name a few, he has become famous for research driven  designs that push the boundaries of aesthetics, technology and materials.


FT’s How to Spend It profiled his “innovative home range” including the Cuscino foam-filled easy chair and ottoman and his Fugu Fish inspired Sake Bomb it called “a conversation ice-breaker.”  The Los Angeles Times referred to his designs as ranging from “wildly colored to quietly sculptural.” In giving Purcell at 9.5 rating, Designalmic called his Stephanie collection “a new twist on the modern rustic aesthetic.”


Having started his career in design and architecture in London working for Richard Rogers and Manser Associates on projects, including the Millenium Dome and Great Eastern Hotel, his journey included a stop as an award winning Art Director for M&C Saatchi.


In addition to hitting the ball out of the park with his designs for home and hotel under Purcell Living (he recently completed work for actor Robert Downey, Jr. and London’s Mayfair Hotel) he operates a full service design agency under Alexander Purcell Rodrigues.

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Much of his home design is custom orders, and Purcell says Ultra High Net Worth consumers are increasingly getting directly involved in the process even as they use designers to guide them.  Post-recession, he says, even the very rich don’t just throw money around, so they want to know what they are getting and why it costs what it does.


“They want more control over the process,” he told Elite Traveler during a return to New York to launch his new Cartesian Collection at Wanted Design 2013.


The new offering is named after Descartes’ Cartesian coordinate system, allowing shapes such as curves to be written as algebraic equations, thus making the chair’s ornamentation possible through mathematical formulas.


While the Los Angeles based A-Rod may not make the back page of The New York Post, he is likely to get more press on this visit than the Yankees’ version, who remains out of the news and on the injured list.

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