Designer’s Dozen

Karoly Szücs (pronounced zoochs) is an alchemist. The award winning metal fabricator has gained accolades for his innovative, eye-catching designs.

The Hungarian-born owner and managing director of Artisan Metal Works fuses artistic creativity with commercial pragmatism.

These hallmarks have helped grow the company from a one-man shop to a busy seven-employee firm in less than a decade.

The firm’s work ranges from ornamental commissions for private clients and public agencies to mass producing brackets for commercial customers.

Elphina Magona of InsideOut spoke to the metal fabricator about his designer’s dozen.

What aspect of your work gives you most satisfaction?
What I enjoy most is starting out with a piece of raw material and making something functional and unique.

How has your work evolved?
We’re now attracting more commissions for projects in high-end homes while servicing established and new commercial clientele. In the last four years we have outgrown our original premises and have moved into our purpose-built metal fabrication shop.

Who were you up against in your most recent competition?
Earlier this year, we won a gold medal at the National Ornamental Metal Association’s NOMMA trade show in Los Angeles. We were up against hundreds of entries from 12 countries.

What is your favourite metal structure?
I admire the raw beauty and impact of the Disney concert hall by Frank Gehry in Los Angeles. It defines the space around it and dazzles with the fluidity of its stainless steel exterior.

What future project are you most looking forward to and why?
I particularly like custom work because of the creativity involved.

What is your firm’s greatest achievement to date?
I’m most proud of the company having grown so rapidly in just eight years without compromising our professional standards and the passion for what we do.

What is the intrinsic appeal of metal work?
Working with metals gives me infinite ways to express myself. Their beauty comes from their formability, durability and strength combined with their decorative and practical uses.

What other design profession is metal fabrication most like?
What we do can be similar to sculpting, but without as much freedom. Usually in metal fabrication you have to follow a blueprint/drawing.

What design classic do you most covet?
If I had to choose from a purely design and functional perspective, it would have to be this Audermars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph timepiece. The watch has a sleek understated design that is very contemporary but doesn’t shout high fashion.

What metals do you most enjoy working with?
I like using copper and iron. They are so versatile and are easy to work with. I know their capabilities to form and shape when heated.

What would you like to do more of in the future?
Large outside sculptures; I find that type of work very relaxing and rewarding. Though on a small scale, I was honoured to be chosen to design and make the Cayman catboat, in Heroes Square, George Town. So much thought and research went into it.

What’s your preferred type of ornamental project?
At Artisan Metal Works, we like a challenge, so it would be having a customer approach us with a complicated idea, which they may even think is impossible to do, but they want us to approximate, and we make it happen.