Miami New Times' Mastermind Awards honors the city's most inspiring

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,

visit the website.

Laz Ojalde

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,

highly-functional furnishings.

Mastermind 2012 Finalist: Laz Ojalde of LMNOQ Design Studio

Take his

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.

He developed his ideas further, and his output has since been featured in Design Miami and design blogs like MOCO. His cool "floating" coat rack was even written up in The New York Times.

"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.

Audio Junkie
Agustina Woodgate

Honorable Mentions:
The Project [theatre]
Funner Projects
Robert Chumbley
Charo Oquet
Team Danger

Luis Pinto

John Adkins
Jolt Radio

Regina Jestrow

Yovani Bauta


Kevin Arrow

Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova

Hialeah Haikus

Jonathan David Kane

Eddy "Earthtone" Vegas

Bannavis Andrew Sribyata

Sarah Kontoff Baker
Jason Snyder
Valeria Yamamoto
Jayme Gershen

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