At this month’s High Point Market, Alfredo Paredes is expanding the line of seating and case goods he first debuted with EJ Victor early in the pandemic as the partnership between the designer and furniture company continues to strengthen. It’s a relationship that has long roots.
Paredes spent more than three decades with Ralph Lauren, most recently as executive vice president and chief creative officer. He left in December 2018 to launch his eponymous New York-based design firm — and to create a flexible lifestyle that allows him to spend more time at home with his two young children.
Paredes had worked with EJ Victor during his time at Ralph Lauren and was eager to collaborate again with the company. His line with the Morganton, North Carolina-based producer debuted in April 2020.
Paredes will introduce about a dozen new pieces at the High Point Market April 22-26. The fresh items augment earlier introductions to create a more cohesive, complete collection — and to build on the success of existing pieces, Paredes says.
“Being Cuban American and growing up in Miami,” Paredes says, he’s been influenced by Spanish architecture, Latin American architects and art deco design.
“I like a timeless, bohemian look. Maybe a little bit eccentric. I think it’s my hippie upbringing,” he says, explaining that he grew up in the famous Coconut Grove area, “which was in the ’60s pretty much a center of hippie counterculture, which I love. My parents moved as soon as I turned 10, but that was baked into me.”
And yet Paredes’ design sense can’t be pigeon-holed. His aesthetic is simpler and less literal than one period or one school of design. “If it’s good, you know,” he likes to say.
As for the seating and case goods with EJ Victor, Paredes says: “I think they feel timeless, but sexy. I think they feel right for the time. You can plug them into almost any interior, and I think designers appreciate that.” Materials include woven leather and seagrass. Silhouettes are strong and architectural.
The case goods are available in multiple finishes — something Paredes loves. “It’s the beauty of what I’m doing with EJ Victor,” he says. “A piece may look sort of beachy in one finish but then we do it in black and it looks totally different. That’s something I really, really believe in,” he says, because it gives designers options.
Paredes also likes that pieces are produced in the United States. “And that’s really important because that makes it easier to change finishes and work on the specifications, maybe even customize it if you need to,” he says. “(That’s) hard to do when you manufacture on the other side of the planet.”
Paredes is enjoying home furnishings design and is in various stages of deals with other companies to produce accessories categories that could result in launches later this year. And he continues to grow his residential, hospitality and retail design business with several projects in the works.
But whether designing an entire home, a hotel lobby or a piece of furniture, Paredes approaches the project in a similar way: “It has to have context. It has to have a sense of place. (For instance,) it’s not just about a bureau: It’s the whole lifestyle you’re putting together, right? You need to give them a complete idea that gets them excited. … No one needs anything. You’ve got to give them something compelling.”