Face Time: Renaldo Pesson
With a career that spans more than two decades, Renaldo Pesson has worked in a variety of design sectors, including commercial, institutional, and healthcare. But it’s his work in healthcare architecture and interior design that he says is a true calling.
“I feel the commitment to serve the multitude of individuals who visit and work in the environments I design,” he says. “I can see their faces and know the difference I have made in their lives.”
Most recently at E4H Environments for Health Architecture (New York), he’s collaborated with Weill Cornell Medicine in New York and worked on a master plan for a new patient and staff dining hall for Memorial Sloan Kettering. But his contributions to the healthcare industry don’t stop there.
He’s also created custom healthcare furniture, with one of his patented designs, Balance Beam, winning a past Best of NeoCon Silver and an Innovation award.
So what trend in furniture design does he welcome as a breath of fresh air?
“The overnight sleep-sofa,” he says. “It avails one of the most fundamental aspects of the healing process: allowing loved ones and caregivers to remain overnight and be comfortable.”
What was your first project in healthcare design?
Designing outpatient clinics for Harvard Community Health Plan. My focus was on all the public spaces and consulting on the clinical rooms. This client was amenable to new concepts and innovations like monumental stairs, access to daylight, and preventive care, all 20-plus years in advance of current trends.
Three unexpected items on your desk:
1. a squishy yellow donkey given to me by a vendor
2. old toy soldier with binoculars (It reminds me to keep an eye on things and that there are people out there looking out for us even if we don’t see them.)
3. a red nose from the national campaign to help children in need. It’s a daily reminder to take time to give and volunteer more.
When did you start designing furniture and why?
I won the gold medal for woodworking upon graduating middle school and found I enjoyed the fine craft of furniture or industrial design.
How does your background in architecture help you with furniture design?
It taught me the delicate art of detailing and about the juxtaposition of elements and how they impact each other as you work through the process and arrive at a finished product.
Favorite city to visit:
Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. It’s an ethereal place.
Three words that describe your design aesthetic:
Movie character James Bond. He’s a well-dressed, solution-driven world traveler.
Color Most shades of blue.
App/website Dezeen magazine.
Ice cream flavor Oreo cookie.
Team Rhymes with “bakers.”
Book One of my recent favorites is “Between The World and Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Outside the office, you’ll likely find me …
At some cultural event. I love music, art, and theater in many forms. They expand the breadth of one’s existence.
Dog or cat?
Dog. The loyalty and love seem boundless.
Coffee or tea?
Tea, but I’m trying to get into coffee.
Window or aisle seat?
Always window. I’ll never lose that fascination of flight, those “cotton ball” clouds, and seeing the world from above.
Your go-to karaoke song?
“Ribbon in the Sky,” by Stevie Wonder.
Cocktail of choice?
Lately, Gold Rush. Previously, Cosmo.
Your hidden talent?
If I wasn’t an architect, I would be …
A fashion designer or merchandiser.