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Academy of Art University Celebrates Career of Interior Designer Orlando Diaz-Azcuy

The Academy of Art University, celebrating its 80th anniversary, and the School of Interior Architecture and Design are pleased to announce its conferment of an honorary doctorate on Orlando Diaz-Azcuy. 

Mr. Diaz-Azcuy, widely-regarded as the “dean of interior design”, will receive the honor and speak at the Academy’s commencement ceremony on May 20, 2009 at the Cow Palace. More than 8,000 are expected to attend.  As a prelude, the Academy hosted reception on May 8, 2009 for the release of the newly published Orlando Diaz-Azcuy (Rizzoli, 2009).  Both the designer and the author, Diane Dorrans Saeks, were present for a special book-signing attended by the likes of Stanley Abercrombie, David Antilla, Eric Engstrom, Gary Hutton and Stephen Weaver.  On view at the reception were photographs of some of Mr. Diaz-Azcuy’s projects and select product designs for McGuire Furniture Company and Boyd Lighting. 

“Orlando Diaz-Azcuy best embodies my vision for the Academy which is a world-class education for every aspiring artist and designer around the world,” says Academy of Art University President Dr. Elisa Stephens.  She continues, “He overcame obstacles in his incredible journey from Cuba to the United States.  As such, he represents both the opportunity the University provides for highest achievement in one’s field and its global reach in terms of student population.” 

IAD director Marlene Farrell, who has known Mr. Diaz-Azcuy for many years, concurs, “Orlando is a designer’s designer in terms of his cross-discipline education, prestigious projects, award-winning product designs, longevity in the profession and singular influence on contemporary interior design. He has had a most illustrious career.  And, he remains both an inspiration and a mentor to so many emerging designers and established professionals.” 

Mr. Diaz-Azcuy notes that his cross-disciplinary education has impacted his career “ tremendously”.  He claims, “It gave me a much more extensive vocabulary, but in general, it allows a larger picture of how design fits with one’s total life; social, political, economical, environmental and aesthetic. Our lives are expanded as we diversify our learning.”

The eponymously-titled book comes as Cuban-born Orlando Diaz-Azcuy enters his 47th year in the design profession.  As he tells it, “I was approached (about the book). Many people, designers in particular, whom I met tell me how much they have admired my work over the years, and that I was depriving others to see and judge my efforts. One has to remember that I have been working since 1962, a week after I arrived in the United States, and was still going to school.  Whether it is good, average, or mediocre, I have to let people judge my work.”


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