Ramon Delgado-Maynes

A sixth generation ‘CONCH’ of Key West Florida; Ramon has always pursued a life of creative expression. Ramon’s first design experience, @ 4 years old, was rearranging the nap mats at Miss Jeans Nursery School [and convincing her this was “better”] thus beginning his journey & passion for interior design, art and theater. His Nana, Julietta, ran the St. Mary’s Thrift shop for 27 years and with her Ramon spent many years digging through all of the great donations brought there by the families of Key West. His parents, Fred and Estella brought in the “new” visions of the 60’s, with their home filled with Danish Modern and the likes of Hans Wegner and Murano glass.

Moving off the island, led him to study Architecture and Design at the University of New Mexico. At UNM, he continued his passion for the fine arts and developed his understanding of all things “Native American” and specializing in 2 ¼” square format photography studying with the master historian, Beaumont Newhall. After a year’s hiatus back on the island, he drove his 68 Camaro [with mag/wheels so large you could only drive straight] to continue his architectural studies at Arizona State University.  But architectural “engineering” Lesalie Loehman Gallery was not in the brain power and pursued his BFA degree in painting and drawing.  Combining disciplines and expanding his creative outlets led him to a modern dance minor & American Native Studies. His senior thesis, ‘PASSAGES” culminated this expansion into a one man show with dance/drawing video, mixed media works on paper and fashion design.

Moving to New York City, Ramon interned with the famed modern dance companies of Luis Falco, Alvin Nikolais and Alvin Ailey. His art career was on the rise with one man & group shows at the Upper Westside gallery, Zoma, Leslie Loehman Gallery, different SOHO galleries and in Key West’s Gingerbread Gallery. Always expanding the creative into productivity Ramon opened his first design and construction company, “Perspective”, which quickly gained popularity with many of New York’s elite, including Paul Simon, Broadway Video, Lorne Michaels, Screamin’ MIMI’S, the Natural Source and many restaurants [Nishi, Café Cosmo] and clubs [Paradise Garage, The Works].

He was then, sought after by Sikorsky Aircraft, United Technologies. In his position there as Senior Facilities Planner, Ramon’s ambition was to restructure the Stratford, Connecticut plant into a coming of age facility. Working his way from the presidents’ offices, conference rooms and suites, through the production managers and clerical/office facilities to all of the employee’s common areas and cafeterias. These results are still appreciated some 20+ years later.

Back to New York, Ramon was hired as the Senior Designer and Project Manager at Elaine Lewis Design, Co. In this position he worked for the Lefrak’s, Milstein’s, Goodstein’s, Zeckendorf’s and other major developers to design and implement model apartments, lobbies and public spaces for their highrise development projects & many of their private residences.

As the 80’s NYC property development market slumped, Ramon relocated back to Connecticut to open up his first furniture and fine art gallery, Design RLM in New Haven. Bringing with him his high aesthetic vision to Chapel Street and Yale. DESIGN RLM featured the visionary and modern European furniture lines; Bernini, Ceccoti, FlexForm, Brunati and Massei as well as the artworks of John Schlessinger, Meredith Johnson and NUKE.  Ramon’s design work included clients; Starter Sportswear, Sklarz & Early Law Firm, and many high/end residences.

Modern dance still apart of his creative nature, Ramon taught and choreographed for Danbury Ballet Company.

The 90’s brought on the vision to take his show on the road. After a year in Philadelphia designing and building; The Key West Bar, Woody’s Dance Bar & Chestnut Street Grill; Ramon, born into the Conch Republic, returned to his native home of Key West. There he met the actress Kelly Mcgillis & her husband Fred Tilman and was commissioned to design their restaurant, bar & micro/brewery… KELLY’s. This expansive property once housed the original Pan Am offices and a classic “Conch” house. Ramon’s design in the main building was based on the PanAm theme, his vision became the “Crash Lounge” with an airplane wing bar, aeronautic historical references and photography, custom passenger seat booths and throughout the property there was a blend with a Caribbean overall theme. The second building was developed as an homage to the writers who live/d in Key West with intimate dining rooms, an extensive collection of “Outsider” art, a “library” dining area, and a private 200 seat rooftop deck. He was commissioned to take the historic Elks Club [this is where Ramon first performed @4 years old for the Miss Jean” Nursery School Christmas show, hula hooping his way through a rendition of mela kamiki maka!] and design, develop/renovate, market & manage the famed 1000+ night club, TEMPLE. Ramon brought modern dance to the Key West community by teaching in various spaces & working with the exceptional talent of local drummers. Designing restaurants and coming from a family of Key West restaurateurs, it was a natural fit for Ramon to open his “CAFÉ ESPERANTO”, poolside at the Key Wester motel. A multi /international menu was served with “CONCH” favorites, fresh from the docks and the markets. CAFÉ ESPERANTO was also home to his continuing vision of a fine arts gallery, showing the masterful works of many local artists.

Time to really take his show on the road, 4000 miles away from his beloved island, Ramon found himself summering in Fairbanks, Alaska. There he found a community of Sincere people. Ramon’s response… a gallery that would provide local artist, who did not paint Moose or Mt McKinley, a center to exhibit and sell their works. dolce/VITA [a gallery project] was born. Expanding from the gallery, came Fairbanks, first gay owned and operated night club… “g”!

Yet, another community center for ALL to come and dance the long nights away in an Art environment, the N’dbele inspired poolroom, the graffiti/ghetto dance floor and the Mondrian bar brought international dj’s spinning amidst the aurora, -40 degree winters and 24 hr daylight summers. dolce /VITA created a “pop/up” gallery in Valdez during the summer months which allowed Ramon to concentrate on his own mixed media artworks. Continuing his education at UAF, Ramon pursued his MFA in Museum Curatorial Installations under museum director, Barry McWayne. While there, Ramon developed & curated the shows “COEVAL”, contemporary works by Alaskan Native artists and the retrospective for renowned artist Clare Fejes at the Fairbanks Museum of Fine Arts.  Never going too far from his love of modern dance, Ramon taught and choreographed for Dance Omnium & the UAF Theater Department.

The 4th winter was not going to happen in Fairbanks, so…

On to NOW, actually, 12 years based in Los Angeles, Ramon’s creative journey continues. Starting with the ONLY Hollywood story. Ramon looks like Billy Bob Thornton [who knew]! He was hired in his first month of living in L.A. as BBT’s body double and stand in! This lead to many meetings with famed stars and directors including the amazing Cohen Brothers. The best intro/education to the film industry, possible. Between movies he worked with the matron of modernism CARLA, whose knowledge of mid century furnishings inspired the beginnings of his collection. Ramon left the film industry and went to work for Modern One and Ben Storck, who is known by many as a leading authoritarian on the history of mid century design and architecture & increasing his love for collecting great pieces. In 2005, Ramon branched out to establish his company, material[ENVIRONMENT]. m[E], as it is affectionately known, offers interior and exterior design and construction services. With his acute eye for detail oriented, liveable, environments and timely construction execution the company became a viable source for many clients’ residences in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Hollywood and Venice Beach. His mission to change the street face of Inglewood and other economically depressed areas lead to commissions to renovate commercial properties.

In 2009 Ramon opened material[ENVIRONMENT] at 7466 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. With his incredible and varied collection, mostly based in Mid-Century design,  a new idea in retail, evolved. What really separates m[E] from the “typical” shopping experience is that every 3 months or so m[E] goes through a complete transformation. Based on a thematic approach, a selection of furniture, art and accessories create a new vision for his clients. Some examples of past shows; “ULTIMATE mash/Up” featuring Ducati motorcycles + Charles Hollis Jones acrylic furniture, “in/EX” with ex/terior furniture + 3/D underwater floral photography, “THRONES” [pairs of chairs],  “you…GO, GIRLZ! [a salute to STRONG women]” featuring the works of 8 women whose forté is furniture, lighting and art. Currently, m[E] is working on the premier 2012 show… CLARITY [reflective light in white]

m[E] is more than a showroom/gallery; it’s a place where artists, aesthetes and appreciators of all kinds congregate to share ideas and gain inspiration. Community minded, Ramon’s plan uses the m[E] space not only for sales, art and design exhibitions, showcases and social gatherings, but as a pivotal place wherein cultural & community concerns are spearheaded. m[E]’s first “FUN/raiser” provided monetary donations and jars of peanut/butter & jelly to ‘PROJECT SAVE THE PLANET”. Working with The Seal Pup author James Otis Thatch, m[E] had a children’s art and reading workshop. He is working on an event which will raise awareness and money for “EDAR”- Everybody Deserves A Roof, project and now, also working with the anti-bullying organization; Champions Against Bullying.

Moving on…

In the spring of 2012, all of his physical strength took a turn to look for the need for medical help. The diagnosis was arthritis in both hips. He had to start moving with a cane. Crippling as he was he continued with the gallery and many design projects. including designing and building pools and other commercial/residential design projects. The journey for healing `~it was decided that both hips needed too be replaced and would take a year to do this.

Ramon closed m[E] gallery December of 2015.

January 28th 2016, UBERing to Queen of the Valley Hospital the first operation happened with great results! Right after anesthesia wore off he broke the hospital record walking 120 steps directly after surgery! #1 hip was named Enrique aka Henry. Out of the hospital and back on the worksite he was building the pool. # 2 hip was completed August 1 of the same year,  Lilly was born! So now with Henry and Lilly working marvelously, he designed his surgeon’s home.

With a warehouse filled with treasures from the m[E] gallery, Luxe MidCentury was created to sell the collection via “Chairish” website https://www.chairish.com/shop/luxemidcentury

and always opening the space for appointments with designers and collectors.

It’s now 20 years in Los Angeles, Ramon is 65 and loving it All!

To cap this bio off, for now, here is a quote from Ramon about you and why you should be apart of the m[E] experience; “We all dream of our ideal living and workspaces; what they would look like, the atmosphere we want to create, the comfort, and for many, the elegance. Realizing this dream is often a lengthy process as we search for the furniture, art and accessories that embody us as individuals and make our homes and offices a reflection of who we truly are. m[E] offers you a complete design and construction services and poignant collection of art and furnishings to develop this ‘VISION’.

In this quest to offer inspiration of a multi-faceted lifestyle, designer & proprietor Ramon Delgado-Maynes has brought his aesthetic viewpoint, or as he calls it, his “brain out-loud”, graciously to m[E].

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