Fighting AIDS with a Signature Design Touch

Interior designer, Diego Alejandro Rincon, of Diego Alejandro Design, New York creates inspirational designs for his clients and helps fight AIDS at “Postcards from the Edge”

On Saturday January 26, 2013 one of the many individuals you’ll see waiting near the front of the line outside the Sikkema Jenkins & Co. gallery in Chelsea will be Colombian born architect, now turned interior designer Diego Alejandro Rincon. He’s there, because at 10am the doors open to the 15th annual Postcards from the Edge Benefit in support of Visual AIDS. Visual AIDS is the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to HIV prevention and AIDS awareness through producing and presenting visual art projects, while assisting artists living with HIV/AIDS


Since 1998, the organization has produced the annual Postcards From The Edge exhibition and benefit sale of original, postcard-sized works on paper by established and emerging artists.

Since attending his first sale in 2010, interior designer, Diego Rincon, found such inspiration in the works of hundreds of artists that come together to support this organization that it’s become his signature touch in all of his interior design projects. Most recently, he debuted one of his most ambitious uses of this unique art as part of his interior design of a South Beach residence — creating a work of art within a work of art by perfectly aligning over 30 individual pieces and incorporating interesting uses of negative space to create a dramatic entry gallery.

But getting his hands on his favorite pieces each year takes a lot of preparation, planning and sometimes even a friendly elbow push. It all starts the night before during the preview exhibit, where no matter who you are, you can only look, not buy. So you’ll find Diego ignoring the cocktails and social scene, and instead meticulously inspecting each of the over 1,500 submitted pieces. He carefully photographs his favorites, and goes back around again and again. As he says, “The exhibit can feel overwhelming, and it’s easy to miss a great piece on those vast walls of art, so I review them again and again to make sure I’ve given each piece the attention it deserves.” Ultimately, he can end up leaving the preview exhibit with photos of 100 or more favorites. So that night he continues to curate his collection to cull down his favorites to a more manageable number.

On Saturday morning, several hours before the sale opens, the first would-be buyers including Diego begin to arrive and patiently begin the wait. Diego uses this time to continue evaluating his selects and deciding which are must haves and therefore require quick action. At 10am the doors open and the race is on. It’s all first come first serve. So you’ve got to decide quickly and make a yes/no buying decision right away. Diego knows to immediately find one of the many volunteers and quickly begin making his selects. As the tag for each selection is pasted on his buy form, he’s carefully scanning the room for anyone who might be threatening to take one of his other beloved selects before he gets to it. Once his true favorites are safely in his hands, he finally begins to relax a bit and starts to take a fresh look at the pieces that have yet to be claimed. Every year he’s surprised to find even more favorites that he somehow missed during his meticulous pre-planning.

Ultimately, he’s likely to end the day with 30, 40 or 50 pieces purchased. And he may even return the next day for one final walk through.  At his Flatiron deign studio he opens each piece, where the name of the artist along with information on the piece or their inspiration is finally revealed. Often the descriptions are truly touching and especially moving as the artist recounts a personal story about the impact AIDS has had on their life or the life of a loved one. But each piece is now destined for just the perfect place, in the perfect combination for his current interior design projects. Of course, there’s always more than one personal favorite that he simply won’t part with that ends up in a special place in his home.