Raul Diaz describes himself as an "all-treprenuer" — businessman, creative, designer, and architect. Half of the duo behind KUARTO in Long Beach, California, Raul brings a modern and minimalist design aesthetic to his work, with functionality the ultimate goal. Raul's work reflects the simplicity he looks for in life. And it's this same simplicity that you find in his home.
What was the journey that led you to where you are today? How did you land on design?
Long story short, I tried the traditional route of going to college and getting a job, but that didn't work out. So I ended up dropping out of college and working in construction. I learned strong skills that enabled me to start designing and building my own pieces and, eventually, full-on design/build projects. Design has just been something I've always been keen on; it comes from curiosity and wanting to see the world in a "better" place.
How did you and your brother land on the concept for KUARTO?
KUARTO started oﬀ organically with an idea to create products for home and life. Things we just vibe with. The word "cuarto" means room in Spanish. So the idea was to design products that fit into any room.
From KUARTO to KUARTO Construction, tell us about that journey.
It was an eventual natural evolution. We started oﬀ with a curated retail store, and we gravitated toward making our own branded goods and furniture. KUARTO thus became KUARTO Construction. It just makes sense to have it all under one roof.
Your website mentions that KUARTO is a case study of your and your brother's lives. What do you mean by that?
KUARTO feels like we took our lives and made it into a brand. Basically, it's simplistic and design-forward. My brother does a lot of creative work digitally, and I do a lot of creative work physically; it's a combination of both. Aesthetically pleasing on and oﬀ screens.
What do you hope people take away from your intentions behind your designs? How do you wish your products and designs would "declutter the noise?"
I always like to say a design is not finished until used in life. Whether that is a piece or a space. I intend to not design things that poke out at you. I rather have things blend into life's natural flow. If you don't notice my pieces or the space you're in, I did my job as a designer.
Where does your inspiration come from when designing for either KUARTO or KUARTO Construction? Or even for a client's space?
All inspiration comes from the whole "less is more" approach. So, how can I take everything a person needs, as far as function goes, and strip it all down to its simplest form using the most minimal materials possible.
I'm fortunate enough to have somewhat of my own unique design style that my clients seek out. So designing for clients comes more naturally to me. However, I still like to go outside my box and be challenged by a totally diﬀerent aesthetic or material use.
Do you draw similar inspiration when curating and designing for your own home or business space?
Yea, I try to be as minimal as possible. A lot is going on in my head, so the most minor physical objects around me make me happy.
Describe your personal style. What were you hoping to accomplish with the interior of your home?
I'd say I'm on the minimal side of things. I like to wear uniform-esque clothing, but have a lot of shoes and hats. My home taste has turned from absolutely minimal to a comfortable abode now that my wife and I have a baby boy. Comfort and "homey" is the new wave I'm on, and I think that can still be made minimal.
What is your favorite space in your home?
I spend a lot of time on our couch in the living room! The Sectional is amazing. I lay down with my laptop grinding while the baby sleeps on the corner and my wife lays on the other side. It's quite epic.
What advice do you have for someone defining or redefining their space with minimalism and intention in mind?
I suggest picking key pieces that blend into their lives and function heavily. Also, don't be afraid to move things around once in a while. Change the room up and stay inspired by your surroundings.
What are some other ventures that you are currently working on? What led to your interest in these projects?
We're building a golf brand called QUIET GOLF, which has been amazing. Golf is another way to clear the mind and declutter life's noise. Taking up golf and wanting to represent it in this fashion led us to start this project. We hope many more people out there can see that golf is a great escape.