Katie Jackson Katie Jackson | December 20, 2019 | Culture Homepage Latest Culture Feature
Step inside the magical Miami Beach manse of avid art collector and philanthropist George Lindemann.
A polished purple piece by sculptor Anish Kapoor hangs over the fireplace and gilded fiberglass coffee table, by Wendell Castle.
You can take the plastic covers off of the chairs if you’d like,” says George Lindemann of the upholstered Louis XVI seats that match his whimsical dining room table designed by Paris-based artist Mattia Bonetti. “He would want them to look good.” It’s a sunny Friday afternoon, and the Ocean Drive team has taken over the Lindemanns’ residence for our annual Art Week issue story that showcases the most impeccably decorated homes in the city, specifically those with collections of one-of-a-kind works of art. When deciding whose house to feature this year, Lindemann, who has been a collector all of his life and sits as the chairman of the board at The Bass museum of contemporary art, was the obvious choice.
As the son of the late George Lindemann Sr., a New York City entrepreneur, Lindemann grew up surrounded by art and design. “My parents were collectors, so I grew up with a collector’s mindset,” he tells me. “I have always loved collecting things. Even as a child I collected cactus plants and stamps.”
The living area features a variety of works, like the gilt bronze crocodile chair by Claude Lalanne, elephant table by François-Xavier Lalanne and the panda painting by Rob Pruitt.
When he moved from NYC to Miami Beach, he was given a fresh perspective on his favorite hobby. “Collecting for me is about living with design and art pieces that I love and that make me happy,” he explains. “Many of the pieces in my collection are here because they just fit with my Miami Beach lifestyle and they work with my home. There are a lot of vibrant and playful pieces that wouldn’t work, say, in a Colonial New England home.”
Since moving to Miami, Lindemann became a father of four young children. When I ask him how his children feel living among so many precious pieces that would make every art lover’s heart skip a beat, he tells me that “to them, it’s just their home. I don’t ever want them to feel like they live in a museum and are inhibited in any way. I think they know some pieces are more fragile and they respect that, but they are quite comfortable just living with the work. There is an occasional fight about keeping soccer balls outside...”
But it seems like Lindemann has won that battle. Incredible works are thoughtfully positioned throughout— and even incorporated into—every single inch of his home. The kitchen features blue and white lacquered cabinets that were inspired by a 1960s Gio Ponti design, and two multicolored glass floral pendant light fixtures by Barovier & Toso from the 1960s that hang over a massive island. There’s also a 1970s dining table and chairs by Wendell Castle topped with an array of tiny animal characters. In the adjacent living area sit two pieces created by late French artists and couple Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne—a gilt bronze crocodile chair (by Claude) and the elephant table (by François-Xavier). The room is overlooked by a massive hanging black-and-white painting of sparkling pandas by Rob Pruitt. Even the powder room off to the side brims with intricate design and is an expression of Lindemann’s never-ending affinity for creativity.
The kitchen features a 1970s dining table and chairs by Wendell Castle, blue and white lacquered cabinets inspired by a 1960s Gio Ponti design, and is lit up by two 1960s glass floral pendant light fixtures by Barovier & Toso.
Our team was completely enamored. But between our constant “oohs” and “ahhs,” we all seemed to simultaneously zero in on a very special piece to Lindemann—the centerpiece, if you will, of his home: the Mattia Bonetti dining room table that’s situated underneath two 19th century Murano glass chandeliers. Lindemann and Bonetti worked together to create this very special piece in 2004. The result was the Abyss table. It’s not exactly one of a kind (it’s the No. 2 design in an edition of eight), but the covers for the intricately upholstered seat cushions certainly are.
The Mattia Bonetti dining room table sits under two 19th century Murano glass chandeliers.
When the reproduced Louis XVI chairs were delivered, Lindemann took one look at his toddler and knew the chairs might not last very long. “My dining table was commissioned before I had children,” he says. “But the piece came to be after I was a dad, so we made some design changes to accommodate that, like ensuring the chair fabric was not too delicate and could withstand some spilled spaghetti sauce.” But Bonetti took it a step further. Pulling inspiration from other Florida homes, he created plastic covers to protect the craftsmanship. But not just any plastic covers; these plastic covers were complete with gold edging. “Furniture can be both beautiful and practical,” says Lindemann. “And one chair is always left uncovered. That’s my chair.” We carefully undressed the seats for their big moment in the spotlight before carefully re-covering them. The entire process took about an hour.
Then, to no one’s surprise, the magnificence continued as we went up the marble staircase, a piece of artwork itself and which features 37 different types of marble, all created by artist Martin Creed. On the second floor, we’re greeted by an Ettore Sottsass sculpture that was just returned to Lindemann after a stint at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Miami for the Ettore Sottsass and the Social Factory exhibition. In the master bedroom is a bed by Jean-Michel Othoniel decorated with clear, red and blue beading. A plush white sofa by Frank de Biasi and a pink cocktail table by Marc Newson sit at the foot of the bed. Across the hall, there’s the theater room, which features a lovely chair made of transparent resin blocks and peppered with flowers in the seat, all created by Shiro Kuramata. A colorful painting by Joe Bradley hangs above it.
The marble staircase is made of 37 types of marble designed by Martin Creed. At the top of the staircase sits an Ettore Sottsass sculpture.
The theater room includes the Shiro Kuramata chair and a Joe Bradley painting.
This meticulous care and extreme attention to detail extend far beyond Lindemann’s home decor. For decades, Lindemann has been an advocate for nature with a passion for environmental issues. “Through my work in Florida, I am involved in the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program,” he says. “I have also gotten involved in environmental issues in Tennessee, where I have a farm. I took a leadership role, for example, in the efforts to extend public access to the Cumberland Trail and designate Soak Creek as a Tennessee Scenic River.” But he’s especially adamant on bringing environmental issues, specifically climate change, to the forefront of the discussion at cultural institutions in Miami. “Climate change is perhaps the biggest issue we face, so it’s only natural that we are seeing artists respond to and comment on it through their work,” he explains. “Right now [at the time of publication], there’s an exhibition at The Bass called In the Cone of Uncertainty by Haegue Yang. The exhibition takes its title from an expression in South Florida that describes the predicted path of hurricanes. Yang’s work explores current anxieties about climate change, overpopulation and resource scarcity.” Yang’s exhibition was accompanied by a Curator Culture talk with NBC 6 chief meteorologist John Morales on climate change that Lindemann says really “helps push core issues to the forefront for examination.”
In his downtime, Lindemann is just reaping the rewards of living in paradise. “Miami Beach is an incredible place filled with culture and community. It’s a great place to raise a family and to have a really happy life. But I think your readers already know that.”
Photography by: Kris Tamburello