Luis Valcarcel
Interior Design ’84

After 20-plus years designing retail spaces for Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Harrods—including a four-year stint at Nine West—Luis Valcarcel switched his focus to offices. As senior associate design director at Ted Moudis Associates (TMA), he oversees a team of interior designers who work mainly on the offices of financial companies, from big banks to boutique hedge funds.

The Royal Bank of Canada hired TMA to redesign the conference and training center in its Jersey City, NJ, office. The bank wanted a space that could be used for high-level meetings as well as casual get-togethers.

“This was a departure from their existing space,” Valcarcel explains. “It’s more open. There’s a lot of light penetration from the exterior.”

Some features of the Royal Bank of Canada’s conference and training center:

1) Glass walls and open sight lines define the conference center. “We kept the space open so there wouldn’t be any congestion.”

2) A round seating area near the reception desk provides a focal point and divides the space without needing a wall. The dropped ceiling and large artistic light fixture make the area feel contained.

3) Blue is one of RBC’s corporate colors. Though mostly gray, the carpet contains blue stripes that subliminally direct people toward the conference center. Carpet tiles were used instead of broadloom; that way, a stained area can be replaced easily.

4) Overhead lights placed at odd angles create visual interest.

5) “We didn’t want a typical pantry,” he says. Leaving out the cabinets gives more room for the dramatic backsplash. The tall refrigerator helps anchor the space.