Southern Exposure: Jonathan Gonzalez

Art | Jun 2016 | BY Janelle Zara

“Every piece aims for a juxtaposition,” says Jonathan Gonzalez of his forthcoming collection with Zara Home. The Miami-based designer made his international debut just months earlier at Design Miami.

He has created a 12-piece suite of multi-functional furniture and housewares that play with contrasting dualities of color, texture and function, with subtle nods to his subtropical heritage: There’s lightweight, rough-textured linen stretched over a slick powder-coated metal frame to form a bench, as well as a hyper-asymmetrical coat rack. His overall palette borrows from the ultra-saturated Florida landscape and refines it for use indoors. “The cliché of Miami pink becomes a controlled blush, which at the end of the day no longer looks clichéd.”

Cultured Magazine Gonzalez

John Miller’s Lost at Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art in an architectural installation designed by Office GA.

Gonzalez founded his studio, Office GA, only two years ago, and in a short time became an integral part of Miami’s art and design community. Last year, after designing a group exhibition for the artist-run collective Versace Versace  Versace (then known as Guccivuitton) at the Institute of Contemporary Art,Gonzalez joined the gallery as a partner. In February, his Office GA fabricated an architectural installation comprising a mirrored labyrinth by the conceptual artist John Miller in ICA’s Atrium Gallery, as part of Miller’s museum retrospective (on view through June 12).

With Versace Versace Versace, Gonzalez helped spearhead the development of
Giovanni Beltran, the Little Haiti-based gallery’s new design agency, for which he will curate its inaugural exhibition opening on May 8. The group show, which includes the
work of designers Jonathan Muecke, Jonathan Nesci, Lex Pott and himself, is a study
on the potential of a very diverse array of materials: bronze, steel, wood, felt, neoprene
and marble.

Jonathan Gonzalez

Gonzalez’s Implied Table at Design Miami.

As an agency, Giovanni Beltran explores the unique “cultural and material vernaculars” and “colloquial aesthetics” of South Florida, and during Design Miami in December it mounted “The Storefront,” a solo exhibition of Gonzalez’s work. Presented in the fair’s Curio program, the show reinterpreted the forms of quotidian Miami fixtures—the construction barricade, the canopy chair and the inevitable poolside chaise longue—into sophisticated indoor furniture. Gonzalez juxtaposed soft pastels with sleek metal finishes—an allusion to his childhood in Key West, where nature was in greater abundance than the manmade.

“I’m more interested in taking cues from the formal and material elements that are distinctly subtropical,” says Gonzalez. “Whether they come from Latin America, Haiti, the environment or ideas about ‘luxury’ and commodity, I think these elements are being digested in a product that is at this moment ready to be exported.”

Cultured Magazine Southern Exposure

The interior of Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art.

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