Scale is a principal part of my practice. I am particularly interested in a scale that is shared across architecture and objects — the moment when things are between scales. In that regard everything is the same scale — a pavilion, objects — and I am able to work on both with the same ideas. This scenario requires a strengthening of the external and outward relational qualities of objects, and perhaps the weakening of the same qualities in architecture.
Jonathan Muecke’s particular interest in scale and typology translates into ‘open objects’. Their apparent simplicity conceals a complex theoretical and experimental process informed by architectural and artistic references. Blurring the boundary between architecture, art and design, Muecke critically explores the very definitions of functional archetypes, like a chair, a table or a lamp. Each object is meticulously reduced to its most minimal appearance, leaving aside all unessential details in favour of lightness and continuous surfaces. The designer’s determined process of reduction, rather than merely reinforcing the object’s functional performance, aims to test the limits of the object’s legibility. The unconventional treatment of materiality and proportion challenges the preconceptions regarding gravity, spatial presence and aesthetics, and attempts to maximize the object’s relational potential with its environment.
Muecke’s practice investigates a variety of materials, from stainless steel, aluminum, wood, fiberglass, carbon fiber, to composite materials and polychromes; however, he usually prefers to concentrate only on one material per design, which he carefully models into gentle curves and articulations. Vibrant colors and light reflections add a lively character to the pieces’ formal precision. Shape, scale, material and color are treated with equal attention; hierachy between the different elements is abolished to emphasize the object’s unity. As a result, an ambigous sense of space arises from the tension of the designs’ autonomous presence in space and their capacity to relate to the context they inhabit; eventually, encouraging a reflexive interaction between user and object.
Jonathan Muecke’s Design Office was established in 2010, after testing was completed at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, which was earlier preceded by an education in architecture and an architectural internship at the office Herzog & de Meuron in Basel, Switzerland.
In 2011, Muecke made his debut with a first solo exhibition at Chicago’s Volume Gallery, a major launch pad for emerging American designers. Along with Atelier Sophie Krier and Bas Princen, Jonathan Muecke was awarded a grant from the Graham Foundation in 2012 for the collaborative publication Field Essays Issue One: Every Object contains an Image / Every Image contains an Object (Onomatopee, 2013). He further participated in exhibitions, a.o. Future Tropes again at Volume Gallery and Small Museum for an American Metaphor, curated by architect Kersten Geers, at Redcat in Los Angeles.
The work of Jonathan Muecke has been collected by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the CNAP (Centre National des Arts Plastiques) France. In 2014, Muecke was commissioned by Design Miami/ to create the temporary pavilion for the tenth anniversary of the international design fair. In 2015, he was awarded a USA Knight Fellowship to fund his creative practice and development.