Oscar De las salas

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Photo by Brad Reed – FORD/Robert Black Agency

Name: Oscar De las salas

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Age: 46

Title: Architectural Designer/Creative Director/Style Blogger

Married/Single: Married

Kids: None

City you live in: Phoenix (Midtown)

A typical day in my life includes…

Oh, well, a series of patterns, I guess. It starts with Hugo, our little rescued pug, for a long neighborhood walk so he can sniff out all the “dog-social-media” and share his contribution to the neighborhood conversation of smells. Mornings continue with my usual hot latte, status checks on social media and some grounding time listening to my favorite radio stations, BBC (England) which is always a must, RTVE (Spain), Caracol Radio (Colombia), or NPR (national). Often in the early morning, I visit job sites that are under construction and coordinate with the contractor on site. I usually swing by sourcing places to pick-up samples or visit showrooms for follow up with distributors and reps. Given my schedule, I make time for lunch at home if I am near or at a “sensible diet place”. Once I get to my studio after lunch I check emails and the various social media channels. While I am briefly settled, I try to take some time each day to follow-up with the blog, touch base with my new agent for upcoming projects, or organize my schedule for the week with phone calls or emails. Most weeks usually have a non-profit meeting that I am associated with, a board meeting – which always requires some more Colombian coffee. To close the evening, I juggle the regular cocktail hour and frequent events. If not at a social event, the gym is my default for the evening doing weights or spin class with my husband. I wrap up the day with an evening walk with Hugo and then relax back home with a magazine, or book, or perhaps some TV time with my favorite news and cooking on PBS, or listening time with the directness of BBC Radio.

I was born…

in a port city on the northern Caribbean coast of South America by the name of Barranquilla, Colombia (not Columbia like the university) which is the same town where Shakira and Sofia Vergara were born (just saying!). It is an interesting port city filled with transients from all over the world, a complex mix of multi-ethnic diversity, foods and color framed in the hues of my beloved Caribbean.

My favorite thing about Arizona…

the intricacy of sunsets in fall and winter, with those incredible display of colors painting the sky in streams and washes – and of course, the architectural nature of the signature Arizona cactus: the imposing saguaros.

I’m listening to…

Move with you” by The Discipline, as it has a dissolute bass and tones for chilling at home or to have a decadent cocktail.

Sabor a mi (a taste of me)” by Monsieur Perine, as it is an old bolero recorded with a modern twist. A new music band from Colombia, with songs composed by a girl with 1940’s singing style and two guys with instruments from the same era. They have always have a new spin to most of the old classics but with a definite French weave.

And, these two:

Lessons” by SOHN, for meditation and quiet moment. The voice of the leader of the group is simply angelic.

Pavement Cracks” by Annie Lennox, a classic by one of my favorite modern singers!

Plus, my native Colombian music of course! The latest album by our national voice treasure, Carlos Vives, with his hit that reminds me of my most recent trip to Colombia with the song simply called “Cartagena, La Fantastica” (Cartagena, the Fantastic). You ask, what is Cartagena? Located in Colombia, there is also a town in Spain with the same name and you will fall in love with both, I guarantee! Simply Google “Cartagena + Colombia” in the browser or click here.

My family…

in the U.S. my family is the ideal blend of personalities: my husband, Gary, who completes my life, our little Hugo (our pug), and a select group of friends we call family. I believe family is chosen and we have a wonderful family of friends here in Phoenix.  My related family lives abroad in Bogota, and I have my wonderful, passionately refined and quintessentially traditional mother along with my devoted, talented sister, who has a small practice as a dentist in Bogota. I am lucky to call and chat frequently with them and started using Facebook for keeping in touch visually with my South American roots, way back before Facebook was the social standard.

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be…

Hands down in the U.S., it has to be Charlie Rose. His intellectual level and charming ability to dive into a subject in an interview inspire me to be more curious and ask questions of those I meet to build a deeper connection. I find what he does and how he does compelling for me to think and listen more to people.

One thing I cannot live without…

simple: beauty and style! I find that I crave beauty in fashion, architecture, art and music – and am drawn to every aspect of the creativity involved in it.

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

an astronaut, a doctor, a poet, a writer, a designer; and I think I do a little bit of each one of those today. In my blog writing, my analysis and problem solving in design, my communications strategies. It all gets me to explore new worlds; to feed the curious explorer inside.

I’m inspired by…

in life? Well, I am inspired by those people who have overcome any emotional or physical disability, at any level. I am intrigued by those who sit in front of the crowd and ask questions, the ones brave and curious enough to be in the forefront. I am inspired by those who roll-up their sleeves and make things happen without praise or expecting someone to pat them on the back.

Within the world of Architecture? Richard Meier

Within the world of arts?  Jeff Koons

Within the world of fashion? Alexander Mc.Queen

Within the world of the letters? Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Within the world of music?  Annie Lennox

Life in general? I’m inspired by the small farmers in my native country that wake-up every day to the sounds of birds chirping, surrounded by the thick mist of the Andes, living in the cool mountain mornings, the warm days and the colorful sunrises. These hard working country farmers live their simple lives fulfilling the basic needs and living happy lives with the minimum materialistic needs, coming home at the end of a work day to sit on their porch with a cup of coffee, fresh juice or a glass of cool water, telling stories to their families about their day watching the sunset on the horizon. And they are happy!

The one person who motivates me is…

my husband, who is my biggest cheerleader and support but is also my biggest critic and voice of reason. My community, the one I carefully gathered after more than 16 years in town, they motivate me to help keep us progressing and make things better (on my scale).

If I could change anything in the world, it would be…

hunger, intolerance, ignorance, hypocrisy, arrogance, judgment, and that emotional toxic virus that gets spread viciously called hate.

The perfect day would be…

a full day on a rocker in front of the turquoise and blue waters of my beloved Caribbean, accompanied with the sounds and flavors and tastes that were once the holiday destination for my family and myself. The sound of the water is my music while the Caribbean air calms me at my core.

My first job was…

as an international bilingual architectural draftsman for an international construction company that worked for the United States government, designing, coordinating and building a series of U.S. Embassies across the southern part of the Americas including Bogota, Colombia, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

My favorite escape…

Coronado Island, CA and when possible anywhere the ocean waves crash or slowly slide in front of sandy beaches.

My life…

a story I’ve written in many years with much patience, learning from every experience, and learning over and over again. A mantra I am remembered in many ways; “letting go and letting be”.

I’m currently working on…

at my architectural level, a large private residence with incredible modern looks contrasted with transitional furnishings. Early next year I am working on a very exciting launch of a broader design and social initiative with a very well established local architectural and design firm where the vision and style will be shared with a very talented principal and a stellar design team – something that I have been long working for.

At fashion level, an ambassador brand program for an international company (a very dapper one, which is a look I’m fond of) and two other media projects led by my new talented agent.

At the community level, the annual fundraiser of the art museum of which I am currently an advisory board member, one that will blend my favorite subjects: fashion, art, architecture, music, gourmet food and libations. A mix of all the humanities, which should power a very avant-garde event that will set a progressive tone for the local and regional world of art.

On a personal level, I am always working to be better at trusting, better at helping, better at taking in what the world has to offer both here and abroad.

Always…

Always, check your zipper before opening doors of a board meeting, or going on stage.

Always keep an eye on the prize.

Always put a bow.

Always ask for a coffee cup stopper at your coffee shop.

Always keep the door open for others.

Always keep a mint or a mint spray at hand.

Always say good morning, pleasure to meet you, good to see you again.

Always give a hug.

Always send flowers.

Always love when making love.

Always say thank you!

Always call your parents.

Always shake a hand, say thank you, and at the end of the day, say a prayer for all good given.

Never…

Never talk to strangers.

Never leave the lights on.

Never give other people’s phone number without permission.

Never leave a room without saying goodbye.

Never leave a note without signing or dating it.

Never hang up on someone.

Never kiss a stranger.

Never leave underwear visible.

Never have bad intentions.

Favorite Quote…

from one of my favorite American poets and writers and a woman I think left us too soon: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou.

Biggest Dream…

to be able to bring to those in need a word of comfort.

To have a peaceful …

to have a peaceful life, look inside to search for who you truly are and meditate, not regurgitate.

My Pet Peeve(s)…

loud people who are loud for no reason, loud mobile phone talkers or on speakerphone in a crowd…inside an elevator? Worse!



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