Mastermind 2012 Finalist: Laz Ojalde of LMNOQ Design Studio
creatives. As we approach Artopia, our annual arts soiree where we'll
announce the three Mastermind winners March 8, we're profiling each of
our nine 2012 finalists. For tickets and more information about Artopia,
Laz Ojalde's Bale Bench
Laz Ojalde is a furniture designer, studio owner, and a native son
of Miami's Carol City. His sustainable, minimalist design aesthetic is
aimed at making Miami's discarded items into thought-provoking and artistic,
colorful bale benches from his Stormy Weather collection, for example.
They're the result of saving Salvation Army discards from the landfill
and turning them into vibrant rectangular places to park your art-loving
"That's something that other parts of the country don't have because we do export a lot to the Caribbean," said Laz of the donation discards that become his furniture. "It's one of those things I take pride in -- I look for these aspects of our culture that are not necessarily common in the rest of the United States."
Then there are his Stormy Weather lamps, in which vegetable cans collected from Miami restaurants are reborn into light fixtures that resemble stick-figure representations of Medusa.
Both concepts originated as his response to a commission that came from a former restaurant owner whose largely vegetarian eatery, art gallery, and comedy club (Zona Verde) was located in Little Havana. The business closed, but it was far from the end of Ojalde's line.
"My work is grounded in the now, meaning modern, contemporary lines," said Ojalde. "I find inspiration in older, more traditional work, and classical art as well. But I like to take all those ideas and sort of minimize them into what I feel is the simplest form that still communicates what is functional and needed," he said.
Ojalde will be a featured artist in Inventory's Objects of Desire show, on view at the Buena Vista Building in the Design District from February 12 to March 12. His design studio, called LMNOQ, is located on Miami's east side.
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