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Form and function combine in Degarrio’s unique designs


Are you in the market for custom furniture, lighting, drapery hardware and other metal specialty items that are functional works of art? Would you like to work with someone who understands how these items integrate with the architecture and history of your home?

Humberto DeGarrio has been designing metals and other media for 27 years, creating beautiful pieces in steel, bronze, nickel, leather, glass and more. His handmade, hand-painted pieces are tailored to the needs and desires of interior designers, architects and individuals who hire him to craft items of exquisite beauty that accent the designs around them.

“I started my fabrication shop in order to produce custom pieces that were hard to source for my own architectural projects. I soon realized there was a market for custom metal fabrication. I began working on architectural elements and transitioned to furniture, lighting, hardware and sculpture,” DeGarrio says.

DeGarrio Metal Studio in Dallas serves residential and commercial clients for interior and exterior work. Among the uses of his designs are window cornices, fireplace screens and tools, and backyard planters. Many pieces are stunning, provocative and surprisingly warm.

Art doesn’t live in a vacuum. DeGarrio works closely with customers to fashion metal items in harmony with the spaces in which they will reside. The goal is for the natural beauty of the metal to complement and enhance existing components and materials.

“The ability to transform a powerful material like metal into graceful and sculptural forms is very satisfying,” DeGarrio says. “The fact that we forge the material by hand, leaving an indelible mark with each pound of the hammer, makes it even more rewarding.”

DeGarrio recently fabricated an outdoor piece that houses a water feature and functions as a planter for a terrace. The design was inspired by an antique mask owned by the client. Combining these two disparate functions into a singular design resulted in a dramatic final product that is both unique and harmonious with its surroundings.

DeGarrio creates his unique designs by first roughing out a sketch. When he feels a beautiful design is ready to emerge, he creates a more defined hand drawing, experimenting with various metals and shapes he can construct in the forge. The resulting textures and formations inform and inspire the final design.

“It’s so stimulating to use these materials, which I’ve bent and manipulated by hand, for a new piece,” DeGarrio says.

Metalworking is part science, part art, part craft and part industry. Its roots trace back 10,000 years to evidence of the first copper mining in what is now Iran. Smelting metal—heating it to separate it from other materials—dates back about 7,000 years. Sometime later, ancient civilizations learned to mix the two most abundant metals, copper and tin, to form a strong but malleable compound called bronze, giving rise to the Bronze Age, beginning about 5,000 years ago.

Today, metal can be designed into almost any shape and nearly any characteristic by artists and craftspeople skilled in its manipulation. People like Humberto DeGarrio. Every piece he creates is one of a kind, produced for the customer who commissioned it and no one else.

Barry Waldman is principal of Big Fly Communications, a PR/marketing firm for nonprofits and small businesses.

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