In Plane View
Architect René Gonzalez envelops a Miami kitchen with a sweep of mahogany
Jen Renzi -- Interior Design, 1/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
Architect René Gonzalez was recently hired to renovate a cramped suburban Miami tract house—complete with a "sunken living area and a succession of separate rooms"—so that the interior spaces would flow into one another informally. Gonzalez gutted the property and brainstormed an "overriding system of elements that could be shared throughout, unifying the project and clarifying the layout." A folding plane of red mahogany became the central design motif, wrapping around two walls of the kitchen before threading through the house to "separate and define the flow of spaces without creating discrete rooms." The continuous surface begins as upper cabinets along one wall, narrows to a corner soffit over the food prep area, and morphs into a 30 inch–deep, floor-to-ceiling pantry. Gonzalez used 3/4 inch–thick mahogany-veneered plywood panels detailed like stacked boards to emphasize horizontal movement and "create a dynamic spatial condition."
Although he had initially hoped to use solid mahogany, budgetary constraints dictated cost-efficient plywood instead—and that's just fine by him: "Sometimes budget limitations present opportunities rather than problems. I like taking inexpensive materials and detailing them in a new or unconventional way to achieve unexpected results."