interviewed by Calum Donoghue, 19 December 2015
On our hunt to find and question the world's most well travelled men, it wasn't long before the Action Man lookalike, Robert Sepulveda Jr, popped up on our radar. It wasn't his superb credentials as an interior designer or his Instagram shots from across the world that first drew us in, but it was the public art project he founded to raise awaireness for equality. QH caught up with the triple threat to find out more...
As the founder of RSJDesign, what tips do you have for QH readers who are looking to create a timeless redesign of their interiors at home?
My design is always focused on creating luxury design that is timeless, timeless elegance, mastery of the design process, and a love for refinement and the exquisite are all central elements in the RSJ design philosophy. This means the overall design can stand the test of time and be just as current tomorrow as it is today, with a feel of sophistication that incorporates beautiful, interesting materials in a well-conceived environment.
Based on my experience as a designer, (it takes) a design that is rooted in function and problem-solving; luxury is all about the personal, custom approach to a design solution.
Always design the “bones” of the interior - walls, floors, ceilings - to be permanent since these set the stage of the overall design.
Create an architectural background with important detailing that gives uniqueness and definition to the home, including creative and proper lighting solutions.
Use natural materials like stone, fine woods, and marbles that convey a sense of strength and everlasting beauty.
Choose furnishings with interesting finishes that add to the overall character of the home. Go for unique woods such as anigre, African Bubunga, or wenge; or choose stone materials and mix in onyx or unusual marbles.
What are some of your favourite colours and items that you like to use when redesigning a residential space?
I personally love the use of black, white and gray - sleek, timeless and sophisticated - that's just my personal preference, but one shouldn't be afraid of colour. It’s a game of balance. Once you get that right, just about any colour can be spectacular. Picking one bold colour is always the way to go, make that colour the star of the room.
Where have been your favourite places to travel and how have these inspired your designs?
The Roman Temples of Baalbek, Royal Chapel of Versailles, the ancient city of Thera, or the modern metropolis that is New York City, London or Paris to name a few. All hold huge sources of inspiration for me and my design aesthetic. I have been fortunate enough to see these amazing and humbling places, to learn from the techniques of the past and incorporate them into my design philosophy.
For QH readers outside of the US, where would you recommend visiting when in the states?
If one is travelling to the USA for the first time a trip to NYC is a must! (It) has one of the most iconic skylines, from the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty… NYC architecture is a modern marvel. Amazing restaurants, beautiful parks, live theatre, (it) has it all. San Francisco is another beautiful city to visit with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, as well as the Napa Valley with its expansive wine vineyards for a more relaxed weekend, or Miami with its beautiful beaches and warm weather for a more festive occasion.
Tell us more about the Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks and your involvement in the project?
I am the Founder and President of The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks. The Rainbow Crosswalks is a global initiative promoting unity, acceptance, love, and diversity for all. Many US cities as well as many other global cities have already implemented rainbow crosswalks in the most prominent LGBTQ locations of their cities. There was over a years worth of work involved to get the crosswalks installed, but worth every minute of it.
The mission behind these crosswalks are for everyone to know, whether they are just coming out, closeted, bi, trans, having difficulty accepting themselves; whether they are too afraid to share who they really are; those that family members disowned or shunned (them). Like many of us that have faced discrimination because of who we love and how we were born, that yes, you are welcome here, you are safe here and you will be treated with respect and dignity.
You have a large fanbase on Instagram, any tips on taking a good selfie?
My advice is to be yourself! Take photos of what you love, mix in your passions, your travel, your friends and family. In regards to taking a good selfie I would suggest always try to find your light, which means try to find the brightest source of light and take the photo in that direction. No over head lighting if you can help it, it will cast shadows on your face and make you look like Frankenstein! And try not to over uses FaceTune or any other apps that blur or smooth your face too much, natural and imperfections are what make us beautiful and unique.
How do you stay stylish whilst travelling?
I try, and i use the word try sparingly, to pack light. My essentials are always black jeans, a white button down, a black and blue blazer or suit jacket, a light hoodie for those chilly nights, sandals, swimming trunks, tank tops. But one must always consider ones destination and pack for certain events one may attend whilst travelling.
Any upcoming projects we should be hearing about?
I am currently working on RSJ | Collection, a Luxury Home Fragrance line inspired by my travels and distinctive moments in history. For over two years now we have worked on perfecting every aspect of this collection, researching countless history books, discovering formulas once only available to royalty. Sourcing only the earth's rarest and finest elements, crafted by the most accomplished and skilled artisans and using exquisite essential oils derived from exotic and rare flowers and botanicals. I'm very excited to launch the collection very soon!
We saw on Instagram you were recently in London, where did you stay?
I stayed at the Rosewood London Hotel. Its one of my favourite hotels to stay in when I travel to London, the service is impeccable. The history in London is palpable and so tangible. A day trip to Hampton Court Palace is a must as well as a visiting St. Paul's Cathedral, Maison Assouline book store, Kensington Gardens, the Hotel Cafe Royal for lunch, the British Museum, Banqueting House and a jog in Green Park. London has so much to see and do! I can’t wait to go back!