Miami Art Week 2022: Rhuigi Villaseñor + Lamborghini

The luxury automaker's first-ever all-terrain super sports car

Describing Rhuigi Villaseñor as a designer only encompasses a small portion of what he does, and addresses little about who he is. Whether he’s designing for Rhude (which he founded in 2015) or Bally (where he is creative director) or collaborating with other labels, Villaseñor is always creating, contributing and dreaming. Recently he debuted a critically heralded new collection at Bally, injecting his signature style and flair that touches everything he does, from a collaboration with The Macallan, Formula 1, and now with Lamborghini, one of the world’s most prestigious heritage automotive brands.

With Lamborghini, Villaseñor worked on the first-ever all-terrain super sports car, the Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato. Featuring a moss-green exterior and supple leather interiors, the car blends the automotive engineering brilliance with Villaseñor’s penchant for design. The car is powered by a 5.2-liter v10 engine, boasts 610 horsepower and has a matching capsule collection that features the Rhude and Lamborghini iconography. We saw the project realized at the Lamborghini Beach Lounge during Miami Art Week, where we spoke with Villaseñor about the car, the “American Dream” and where he’s going next.

You have had quite the year with Bally, McLaren and now Lamborghini. How do you choose the brands you work with? 

To be honest, all of them make sense to me. All of them. Each and every one of them. But now for us, it’s about really looking at our short-, medium- and long-term goals. And if it were up to me, I would do it all with everyone because I think I live in a world where I want to have a conversation with everyone.

You’ve become quite the multi-hyphenate, from clothing to cars, sneakers, whisky and more. 

I tell my little brother this: I live in a philosophy that you got to look at the greats and whoever your greats are. You gotta look at them and see the direction that they took it and see where they stopped. Then all you have to do is follow that trail and go a little further.

Who is one of your greats? 

Ralph. Ralph. Ralph. Ralph is amazing.

What was your approach for this Lamborghini project?

Talking about cars, really this is just an introduction to what we’re going to do in the future, which you’ll also see on the runway. This is really almost a… magnifying [glass] on the future of racing. I think it’s about off-roading racing, as we begin to see extreme sports really take on a life of their own. I know that there’s going to be future projects aside from mine, that’s going to involve this extreme sport racing. I was very smart in just being one of the first in these things. The focus was making sure that the focal point is on, I don’t know, a post-apocalyptic kind of thing.

A little Max Max inspired?

Mad Max-inspired, yes.

Racing appears a lot in your work. Did you grow up loving race cars, racing?

Rhude to me was the American Dream and this is the continuation of the American Dream. When I was younger I watched this Senna cartoon [which is based on an F1 Racer] and I played a lot with cars. I’m just a bigger kid now.

Design-wise, tell us a little bit about what makes this unique. How did you put your spin on this?

It’s a Huracan, but with an off-roading kind of a spin. You’ve never seen a Lamborghini in a way where it’s perceived as an off-roading car because it’s so very much a race car where it should be on a nice terrain and [track]. But this, it’s really more relevant to where we are in our world.

What was it like working with Lamborghini?

It’s an honor. I still look at the brand alignment and every partnership that I do. I think it’s incredible to be able to work with these heritage brands, no matter where they’re from—alcohol to footwear to whatever. It’s the audacity to dream and the audacity to continue to be able to create a brand that is fluid and continues to communicate with new consumers. For me, when I go into these things, I think of how I want to recreate the brand and how I want to reinterpret it. But also, I’m coming as a student; I’m not coming as a person that’s trying to change the rules. I’m just here to learn them so I can break them.

Images courtesy of Lamborghini