After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in architecture, Cuban-born designer Raul de Armas joined the prominent architecture firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 1967. He was ultimately made a partner and appointed as Director of Interiors for the New York office, and Interiors magazine named him “Designer of the Year” In 1984. De Armas left SOM in 1991 to become a founding partner of Moed, de Armas & Shannon.
In the late 1980s de Armas collaborated with Carolyn Iu to design Palio, a collection of leather office accessories introduced by KnollExtra in 1991. In the same year, with assistance from then Knoll Director of Design Carl Magnusson, de Armas designed a wooden arm chair bearing his name. As a strong proponent of the modernist philosophy, de Armas incorporates fundamental architectural principles throughout his designs.