Step number one: acquire a really hot portrait of yourself. Kidding! (Although I imagine it can’t hurt.) I first met Agustin Sanders three years ago at Discarded to Divine, an annual fashion show and auction in San Francisco featuring designs created using trashed clothing. Agustin made the only non-clothing item for the event: the Bella chair and chandelier (check out my post from back then, scroll to the bottom to see the set). I caught a glimpse of it pre-show and fell in love. I thought the pair would look great in the very high-ceilinged loft I had just moved into. But I had never bid at an auction and was too chicken to start now. It’s funny, however, the boost a couple of free glasses of wine can give to one’s bravery. When the host brought the Bella set out on stage and another woman bid on it, I couldn’t help but pipe up. IT WILL BE MINE, I thought, and I raised my card high. Then, that same woman had the nerve to counter-bid me! After a moment of panic, I shot back one more bid and she backed down. Woo hoo, Bella really was mine! After the auction, Agustin came over to say hi and thank me for my enthusiasm. He was so sweet and uber-stylish to boot — add that all up with his design talent and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Agustin lived in Mexico City until he was 20. His first design job was working as a set designer for a big deal Mexico City fashion photographer when he was just 19. Soon after, he moved to San Francisco to enroll in the BFA program at the Academy of Art University. In 2009 he designed the school’s Urban Knights Art Cafe. They must have liked the results because they signed him up to design five more spaces at the university, including Cafe Rodin, (check out the before and after shots in our gallery below!). Plus, the university recently hired him to teach interior design and write their design blog, Interior Design School Daily. He’s such a success story that I wanted to share him with you all. Check out our Q&A, where Agustin shares design tips, his dream of working with his mom, and his fave stomping grounds in SF, NYC and Mexico City!
Stylenik: What projects are you working on at the moment?
Agustin Sanders: I recently started teaching commercial space design and writing the interior design blog, Interior Design School Daily, for the Academy of Art University. I’m also working with the Academy of Art on designing a few more spaces: the International House dorms cafeteria, the New Media and Wen Design Gallery and reception area, the School of Fashion cafeteria “cafe Dior,” and the School of Interior Design student lounge and cafe and reception areas. I’m also working with one of my sisters to come up with a line of oversized tote bags, hand-printed shirts and decorative pillows.
Sn: Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
AS: I get my inspiration from everything around me: art, music, fashion even from talking to my friends and family.
Sn: What’s your dream job?
AS: I would love to own my own restaurant and hotel design company. Also I would love to work at some point with my mother in Mexico City — she is an interior designer.
Sn: I hear you have a lot of siblings… can you tell us a little bit about your family and upbringing? Did your family life have an influence on your career choice or aesthetic?
AS: I do have a lot of siblings: I have four sisters and two brothers. Half of my family is in Mexico City and the other half is in San Diego, so its pretty hard to get everyone together, but we try to at least once a year. I grew up in a very artsy environment. My grandfather was a well-known Mexican painter, Guillermo Sanders, my mom is an interior designer, and all of my sisters are very into fashion. So all that combined had a great influence in my career choice and who I am.
Sn: Who do you admire most in your field?
Sn: What’s the biggest mistake people tend to make when decorating their homes? And what’s the easiest thing people can do to improve their space?
AS: I think the easiest way to improve your space is by reusing unconditional items around your home as furniture or decorative items. I spend hours in antique stores and find items that could be reused and make them into something beautiful for the home. I think the biggest mistake people tend to do is spend a lot of money in renovating their homes when it could be done with much less.
Sn: We love your sartorial style. Who are your favorite fashion designers or style icons?
AS: I have always been fascinated with fashion. Some of my favorites are Tom Ford, Hedi Slimane, Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld, Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy. My style icons are Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, and Brigitte Bardot.
Sn: What are your favorite and least favorite style trends at the moment?
AS: I think accessories on guys are very hot right now: rings, big necklaces and bracelets. I am very into skinny jeans, a vintage T-shirt with a nice blazer paired with a scarf and a fun pair of sunglasses. I really like women in heels, I think they look so sexy and elegant. I know its hard to walk in them, but come on… once in a while?
Sn: How long have you lived in San Francisco? What are your favorite things about living here?
AS: I’ve been in SF for 8 years now after moving from Mexico City. I came here for school and I consider SF home now. One of the things I like about it so much is how friendly people are here, the variety of cultures, the great food and restaurants, and of course the architecture.
Sn: What’s your favorite San Francisco restaurant?
Sn: Where are your favorite places to travel? Where do you like to eat or hang out when you’re there?
AS: I love going to New York every year for my birthday. I like to walk around the Lower East Side and try new restaurants. S’Mac in the East Village is a great little mac ‘n cheese bar. I like going to small bars/lounges — nothing fancy. I like Central Park too on a sunny day.
When I go back to Mexico I love walking in the Condesa/Roma district and looking at the amazing architecture. I also love trying little hidden gems, for food and shopping. Downtown Mexico City is beautiful, with the Palace of Fine Arts and Zocalo area. It has great shopping too.