WRITER | CANDIE CONAT
PHOTO| DISTRESSED DESIGN
After earning his B.A. in architecture and a Master’s in engineering at the University of Miami, Anthony Acosta knew he wanted more than what his career in architecture offered. He wanted something with an added focus on individual design where he could use his creative eye to build uncommon pieces of functional art.
Acosta grew up in a family full of entrepreneurs but never really pictured that for himself. That all changed when he and his wife moved to Michigan in 2013 to raise their family; it was his chance to follow a dream, and so began Distressed Design.
In the beginning, Acosta focused on repurposing single items, restoring them to their original, useful function. However, it didn’t take long for this remarkably talented artist to imagine far more. He realized he could take old, discarded items and turn them into dignified works of art that also served a new purpose.
Can you imagine the rim of a bike tire paired with bike chains becoming a magnificent chandelier? Or the gears from a dismantled commercial printing press finding new life as a majestic table lamp that will become a treasured heirloom? What about a milk strainer, a commercial whisk, or an old copper turbine? Most people cannot, but Acosta can.
Sometimes a new creation begins with a sketch. A faint idea that Acosta begins to draw out. Once the concept is complete on paper, he seeks out industrial parts that will bring the sketch to life. At other times, it’s the other way around, and Acosta allows the bits and pieces themselves to lead the way. There is no standard process involved here. Though he might create similar pieces, each one is a unique variation on a theme.
While many “standard” pieces are available for purchase on the Distressed Design website, Acosta is no stranger to creating larger-than-life custom pieces of functional art. He creates pieces for residential and commercial settings alike. For custom work, he first visits the space to talk with the home or business owner to discuss their vision and create a plan.
A recent project included the fabrication and installation of more than 20 light fixtures created from old copper turbines. The finished products hang at the MI Table restaurant in Midland’s Legacy building and cast an astonishing glow through the slats in the shiny turbines.
Acosta travels all over the country to install his work in homes and businesses, including at Google headquarters, Redbull, and Crossfit gyms. He credits his success, in part, to the amazing group of local business people he has surrounded himself with, professionals who specialize in everything from metal cutting to concrete work, industrial powder coating, and metal framing. When he needs a piece of metal cut or a concrete tabletop, he knows exactly where to turn and who he can trust to provide top-quality work to match his own.
“I get to be creative. I have the freedom of design. I am not confined to one style or design, and that is my dream come true.” Acosta has found his niche in the world of industrial design, that is for sure.
Distressed Design works with clients on an appointment basis and sells many designs via its website. Be sure to visit Facebook to see many videos that feature Acosta’s creative process and the awe-inspiring result.