American Design Hot List 2017
Why aren’t more people talking about Jonathan Gonzalez’s work? After a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Curio space at Design Miami in 2015, we’ve been excitedly following his Miami-based studio’s work, which often employs organic or raw materials and pastel colors.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
In our own practice, we get to do everything. Objects, art, architecture, exhibitions… There is something about this wide openness that feels distinctly American.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
Our studio continues to develop new work for the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami. We have designed and fabricated almost every piece of furniture for their new museum building and will be working to help realize some major works of artists outside our practice. We are working on new furniture for an exhibition with the gallery Tile Blush and currently designing a collection of new site-specific pieces for a project in Chicago. Our studio is designing a private residence as well, it should be interesting. The ability to design and create our own work while solving the complex problems of other artists and institutions creates new challenges constantly.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
Underrepresented architectures and urban objects. I find a particular joy in banal artifacts from the last century. Between my house and our shop there is a run of curved precast concrete bus stops, from maybe the 1960’s or 70’s. The bench seat curves upwards forming a backrest and arms and turns over to create an overhang for shelter. They appear to float above the sidewalk and have this incredible large pebbled aggregate, making them just uncomfortable enough to not sit on all day. There is this weird beauty to them… formally and functionally married and so good, and yet invisible. Each country has its own set of these incredible infrastructural artifacts, responding to notions of indigenous form and material and building technologies. They are super useful.