Turning the Table: Rafael Esquer
A look at amazing work by our 2021 judges
July 2, 2021
Rafael Esquer is the CEO and creative director at Alfalfa Studio, his SoHo based design firm, which he started in 2004 in New York, where he has been a Manhattanite for the past 20 years. Esquer is a native of Mexico’s Senora desert, and was educated in Mexico and Los Angeles. His accolades and achievements are many, with his work in communication design winning the National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in 2004. His work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Art and Design in New York, and is included in the collections of several other museums, including the Olympic Museum in Switzerland. In 2007, Taschen named him among the world’s 100 most influential graphic designers working today. Esquer’s wealth of experience and impressive achievements in the design world, made his addition to our 2021 Design Awards jury another arrow in an already impressive quiver. We asked Esquer to pick a recent project that he was particularly proud of and what he picked is iconic.
CentralPark.org commissioned Esquer and Alfalfa Studio to create the Iconic Central Park poster, the latest addition to the Iconic Cities poster series from Alfalfa New York. Over the course of two years, Esquer worked to capture the world’s most famous park’s most famous elements, resulting in more than two-thousand icons, which represent all of the park's beloved features from the Duke Ellington Memorial in Harlem to the USS Maine Memorial at Columbus Circle.
The colourful icons come together in a tapestry as rich as the city itself and, like the park it represents, the poster begs to be repeatedly visited and explored. A mélange of old favourites and historical nuggets the poster lets you visit Olmsted’s masterpiece from anyplace wherever. A particularly nice feature here in Canada, as our borders remain closed to most travel.
The details are truly staggering with 75 statues and monuments, 25 bridges, 20 named gates, 8 bodies of water, 4 fountains, 3 bears, 2 ghosts, and 1 plane crash. Waiting to be discovered are many more, including icons of movies, books, songs, performances, events, and personalities associated with Central Park, such as John Lennon, Jackie Onassis, Woody Allen, Simon & Garfunkel, Barbra Streisand, and Meryl Streep.
Thanks again to Esquer for being one of our 2021 Design Awards judges and for sharing this project befitting its name.