Co-Founder & Managing Principal
CRISTINA VILLALÓN, CODDI
“We want to feel good about our designs, not only because they are good for the earth but also because they are good for you, your wellbeing and your pocket.”
– Cristina Villalón
Cristina Villalón is the Co-founder, Principal Interior Designer and the Director of Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón® | Architecture & Interior Design.
The projects that Villalón has carried out in New York, Florida, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Oman, Venezuela and Puerto Rico have received high praise in the press. Her intelligent use of holistic design coupled with extensive experience in the construction, renovation and expansion of residential and commercial interiors, plus a healthy hint of perfectionism, have helped her bring together a wide variety of top-notch clients globally.
Recognized for her attractive, welcoming, and functional interior designs, Villalón was awarded in 2015 with the Star on the Rise Award from the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA). In 2013 and 2015, samples of her work were highlighted in the books The Best of Residential Architecture and Design and The Best of Education and Culture, both published by Interior Design Books. Villalón founded the design company Villalón Interiors, Inc. in 2005. In 2012, after almost a decade of successful collaboration, Villalón Interiors, Inc. joined forces with Álvarez-Díaz + Group, PSC, forming the company Álvarez- Díaz & Villalón® | Architecture & Interior Design. The union has resulted in exponential success for the married couple, demonstrating that diverse points of view and talents provide a better value proposition for clients.
Since 2005 Villalón has been an active member of the College of Interior Designers and Decorators of Puerto Rico (CODDI) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). She belongs to the Board of Directors of Saint John’s School, one of the most distinguished high schools on the island – and her own alma mater. In addition, Villalón works as a member of the board of directors of the Jack B. Kodesh Foundation. For years, she served on the committee of the Gala of the Art Museum of Ponce. Cristina Villalón was recently appointed by the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, to the board of directors of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. Currently, she is the only woman on that board, but she is working to change that.
In 2016, Cristina was named among the Top 40 Under 40 by the magazine Design: Retail and that same year, Caribbean Business awarded her the same distinction. In 2017, together with her husband and partner, the architect Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz, she co-authored the first monograph of the firm called Places of Purpose, which presents the firm’s work throughout its fifteen-year history. Cristina insisted that all proceeds of that book be donated to Habitat for Humanity of PR for reconstruction efforts after the passing of Hurricane Maria.
Cristina has a Master of Science in Interior Design from Pratt Institute in New York. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Pitzer College: member of the Claremont Colleges in Los Angeles, California. She expanded her design studies in Copenhagen, Denmark.
In 2020 Cristina was appointed as a member of the board of advisors at University of Notre Dame’s Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate, an organization dedicated to educating and inspiring the next generation of real estate professionals. In collaboration with her husband, Villalón co-sponsors the Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón Fund, which annually awards three student awards at the baccalaureate and postgraduate levels for the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, rewarding outstanding leadership and sustainability in design. In addition, every year, they sponsor a summer internship program with the School of Architecture of said institution.
Villalón is a proud mother of three beautiful daughters, a recycling activist and gender equality, an insatiable reader and a lifelong learner. Her most recent project, a blog called “The Juggling Act”, shares her experience candidly, looking to stay balanced while trying to do it all!