Jonathan Zanger is President at Walker Zanger, one of the oldest and most well known stone and tile companies in New York. We asked Zanger how he made a start with the firm. “I worked at the company over summer holidays. When I graduated from College, I wanted to live in Italy and learn the language, so I took advantage of family connections and spent a year working first for several stone companies, in Carrara, and then in the company’s Italian Office. It was a wonderful experience, and a great way to learn the business from the bottom, up.”
"The quality of the design has to compliment and respect the innate quality of the materials." - Jonathan Zanger
In a family business that spans generations, relationships, know-how and connectivity are almost a form of IP, but technology has democratized access to the industry. “When I began, and it was a far smaller industry. However I have found that through travel, participation in Trade Associations, and Trade Shows, and now through Social Media, it’s easier than ever to forge new relationships, and to ‘break in’.”
Over the years, Walker Zanger has built up a remarkable collection of materials, supplied by craftspeople and factories all over the world, leveraging a host of different materials and production techniques. “The common denominator is that the design has to be timeless, and the quality of the design has to compliment and respect the innate quality of the materials.”
We asked Zanger if he has a material or product that speaks to him more than others. “As my tastes change, my favorite collections change. Right now, I’m smitten by the new Studio Moderne additions, and by the Stardust Collections, both of which combine stone and ceramic in interesting ways.”
"I love the way we can develop age-old techniques and materials, and make them relevant in today’s world." - Jonathan Zanger
As a company Walker Zanger has has collaborated with some of the world’s most accomplished artists, architects and designers on historic projects like the J Paul Getty Museum in Malibu and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. Zanger has personally worked projects including the Nationsbank Headquarters, in Charlotte, by Cesar Pelli, Liberty Place, in Philadelphia, by Helmut Jahn, and The Park Hyatt, in New York, by Yabu Pushelberg. “We had a great deal of input on the materials and the details, on all of these projects, and the teams that worked on them were top notch, from the owners, all the way to the installers,” Zanger notes.
Finally, we asked Zanger if he has a favorite aspect to the role his storied company fits into the industry at large. “No question,” he said. “I love the way we can develop age-old techniques and materials, and make them relevant in today’s world. I love to work with young manufacturers and designers, and collaborate to make products that speak to our clients.”