When Marlo Logan wanted to buy her husband, David, a guitar stand for their one-year anniversary, she turned to Aaron Voigt of Voigt Metal Design Studio in Mesa.
"I wanted something out of the norm," said Logan, 32, of Tempe. "(David) loved it. He’s a musician, and he couldn’t believe how unique it was."
Talk to Voigt’s other clients — a jewelry designer, a tattoo artist, a nightclub owner — and you’ll hear the same story.
"I just look at things differently," Voigt said.
The 24-year-old Mesa resident creates such varied items as stools, headboards, restaurant menu covers and clothing racks — all out of metal. He has worked with the material since he was 15. His father, a welder for the state of Arizona, trained him.
"I kind of just picked it up around the house," Voigt said. "I didn’t really want to build the functional stuff. My dad is real straight-and-narrow, and I wanted to get away from that."
In 1998, amid stints as a car salesman and a professional welder, Voigt began to design and construct what would become his signature line of funky — and functional — furniture. The edgy style is a reflection of Voigt’s own appearance (a goatee, multiple tattoos), but is no indication of his personality.
"(He) is very genuine, down to earth," said 30-year-old Dave Urbanowicz, a tattoo artist at Body Art Tattoo in Mesa. Urbanowicz commissioned Voigt for two pieces, including a lighted table for tattoo design.
"People keep on asking me where I get it done. Even some metal workers were very impressed," Urbanowicz said.
To keep up with demand, Voigt bought a studio in September and now, along with longtime friend and partner Jason Moore, considers the craft a full-time job.
"Our schedule fills up pretty fast," he said.
Voigt’s work became especially visible as a result of a partnership with 944, a local entertainment magazine. Voigt designed their custom magazine racks; in exchange, he received free advertising space. Since then, several local nightclubs have commissioned his studio to design DJ booths, bathroom stalls, candleholders and more.
Of all the furniture Voigt has created, the "coffin couch" has received the most attention.
"I just stayed late one day, got bored and wanted to make a funky couch," Voigt said. "I wanted it to be out of an institution, real cold."
Although larger projects are produced entirely in Voigt’s Mesa studio, smaller ones often require a CNC Plasma Cutter, borrowed from a nearby business. The computerized device helps create the intricate metal spider webs and flames that often decorate Voigt’s designs, which can take from two hours to two weeks to complete.
Prices vary, depending on the piece. The coffin couch, recently purchased after being displayed at reZurrection Gallery in Tempe, cost $1,000. Other pieces, such as an end table, can run as little as $200.
Most of Voigt’s business comes through word-ofmouth. Tempe resident Patrick Burt, 41, heard about Voigt Metal Design Studio from a friend.
"He said, ‘You need to talk to Aaron, because he’s the best, and he’ll make whatever you want.’ I kind of stored that information and then last summer, the monsoons came through and ripped up a gate in my back yard," Burt said. "I thought, this is an opportunity to replace the gate with something nice and artistic."
Burt, a jewelry designer, worked with Voigt on the gate’s contemporary style. The piece, which uses wood panels and metal treated with a multicolored copper powder coating, has the look of an Arizona sunrise.
"I couldn’t be happier," Burt said.
The gate is a departure from the studio’s typically alternative look, but Voigt said it is a good example of the variety of work he can do.
"As far as custom pieces, whatever the customer wants, we can build for them," he said. "When I make something for somebody, I’ll sit down and interview them. When (customers) are involved, it is more fun for me. It’s more personal."
See for yourself
Work by Voigt Metal Design Studio can be seen at:
• CBNC, 1420 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. (480) 990-3222.
• Noyz, 4224 N. Craftsman Court, Scottsdale. (480) 923-3800. For more information: Voigt Metal Design Studio: (480) 733-0555 or www.VoigtMetal.com