We had the good fortune of connecting with Gloria Duque and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gloria, why did you pursue a creative career?
I have always loved everything related to arts. Architecture, sculpture, dance, fashion, music, paintings, you name it! I grew up in a house of couturiers surrounded by beautiful fabrics, paper patterns and the very romantic melodies of Julio Iglesias. I can still remember my grandma’s clients rushing excitedly upstairs to try on their newly made dresses. Even as a very young girl I can recall how my grandma was able to bring joy to people with her art. I realized then, that it’s possible to generate happiness by designing beautiful objects & spaces. Who wouldn’t want to live in a more cheerful world?
I didn’t become a couturier (sorry for ending the tradition grandma!) However, I decided to go to Architectural School. I love how this profession beautifully integrates arts and science. The little researcher in my needs to put a technical spin into everything I create! Alongside my professional career, I have always pursued other creative outlets like dance, photography, painting, and especially pottery. My ceramic pieces -also known as The Malpasos- evoke the characters found in the imaginative worlds of celebrated magical-realist novelist Gabriel García Marquez. Each of my pieces has a story to tell; some are fictional, some are factual, but all share a little bit of my essence. They all bring me back to that old house where I would fall asleep to the sound of my grandma’s laughter and her old sewing machine…
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I believe it’s possible to generate happiness by designing beautiful objects and spaces. This has been my primary professional focus since I graduated from Architecture school in my native Cali, Colombia, and decided to move to New York City. As much as I love where I grew up, I knew that I was going to be a New Yorker one day. I can’t really explain how but I used to dream of spaces in the city that I have never been to. Some call it déjá vu, I call it destiny.
Since earning my Architect’s license, I have completed a wide array of institutional projects in the American Northeast as well as overseas, including the Rockland Psychiatric Children’s Hospital in Rockland, New York, and the Bayamón Correctional Medical Center in Puerto Rico (I absolutely adore Puerto Rico!) More recently, I have had the opportunity to work on Columbia University’s new Manhattanville campus, in Harlem, alongside Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Davis Brody Bond. Can I confess I was totally star struck by Renzo Piano?
Currently, I am designing an office building for a company that is generating wind energy to power Brooklyn. Being able to be part of the process in which the city is transitioning into cleaner energy is something that brings absolute joy into my life. I think I am living one of my proudest moments in my career. Leaving a better world for future generations is something we should all aim for.
I could never talk about my career and not give a huge shoutout to my Malpasos. My beautiful sculpted in clay family. The Malpaso Series grew out of my desire to give material form to the beautiful, fun, and colorful creatures inside my head. Please tell me you have imaginary friends too…
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
New York City….I love you! Let’s play!
Day One: Metropolitan Museum of Art. Can we stay here all day please? This place is a true time capsule. I have been here hundreds of times and I still discover new treasures every single visit. Assuming the weather is being cordial we can have a picnic in Central Park.
Day Two: Sorry but no trip to NYC is complete without doing some shopping. My newly discovered favorite trend? Vintage. I will meet you in Screaming Mimi’s on 14th street. Bring an open mind and fancy shoes. We are going to the Standard Hotel for a drink after.
Day Three: Best invention ever? The bicycle! Let’s rent some wheels and ride along the West Side Highway. There are plenty of spots we can stop by. Have you heard about Little Island? WOW!
Day Four: Let’s eat! abcV is my absolute favorite restaurant. Make sure to order the roasted cauliflower and coconut sticky rice. Shoutout to my favorite hostess @sour_jammie_insetto
Day Five: NY Botanical Garden. The prettiest place in the city! Last time I was here Yayoi Kusama had the coolest exhibit here. Dot, dot, dot.
Day SIx: I like to dress up. Are we moving a piano? I’m dressing up. Are we walking your dog? I’m dressing up. New Yorkers love to express themselves in a very sartorial way. To keep it playful I like to mix manly and feminine pieces. Favorite manly store? Todd Snyder in Madison Square Park.
Day Seven: I hate to see you leave 🙁 Let’s say goodbye in China Town’s Peachy’s. We can then dance our way into the night in Pulqueria next door. There is no door sign so make sure to follow the crowd with the dancing shoes!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Cien Años de Soledad (100 Years of Solitude) by Gabriel García Marquez was the book that changed my life forever. I was never able to describe how I feel about life until I read this book as a young teenager. Magical-realism for me, became a way of living life. If we don’t believe in magic life becomes boring and predictable. Shoutout to all the Unicorns, Mermaids, and Aliens out there trying to make their way into this world. I hear you loud and clear!
Other: You can always email me at email@example.com
Nora Lowinsky for my profile picture Maria Grazia Facciola for other personal pictures