100 Creatives 2012: Bob Martin, Designer

What He Does: Bob Martin began as a jeweler and ended up a designer at Merge Studios, a design and metalsmithing collaborative that specializes in furniture and sculpture. The work Merge produces is startlingly elegant, with crisp, modern lines done in dark metals and stainless steel. They do everything from fountains to signs to beds to rolling library ladders that would complement any steampunk home.

Why He Likes It: "I love functionality! I like to be able to design something that is visually pleasing to the client and myself, but I enjoy it when they really get use out of what I've made. Bigger items usually make the biggest impact. Stairs and beds always seem to be large, more memorable pieces."

What Inspires Him: "Design starts with inspiration! A line, a shape...it could come from anywhere. I like to complement and contrast materials. The craft started for me as a jeweler. The small, detailed world just got bigger. A lot of the processes I learned, I still use in the pieces I do now. I really specialize in custom work and one-of-a-kind pieces."

If Not This, Then What: It's probably no surprise that Martin has an interest in architecture, the career he'd have if he weren't a designer. Many of the pieces that Merge has produced already feel like pieces of brilliantly designed buildings that just haven't been built yet. It would be something else to see Martin's vision in the big scale of architecture.

If Not Here, Then Where: "I like Houston, but I've toyed with the idea of moving to Austin."

What's Next: Martin continues to produce one-of-a-kind pieces for custom order. Currently he's working on a few chandeliers and a spiral staircase railing. There are also some steel paintings on the horizon, just in case you're the kind of person who likes their art with an edge.

More Creatives for 2012 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Mary Lampe, short film promoter and developer Nisha Gosar, Indian classical dancer Jeremy Wells, painter George Brock, theater teacher Radu Runcanu, painter Ariane Roesch, Mixed-Media Sandie Zilker, art jewelry maker Philip Hayes, actor Patrick Palmer, painter Ana Mae Holmes, Jewelry Designer John Tyson, actor Jerry Ochoa, violinist and filmmaker Raul Gonzalez, painter, sculptor, photographer Roy Williams, DJ of medieval music Laura Burlton, photographer David Peck, fashion designer Rebecca Udden, theater director Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, vintage designer handbag dealer Paul Fredric, author John Sparagana, photographer Damon Smith, musician and visual artist Geoff Winningham, photographer Johnathon Michael Espinoza, visual artist Jaemi Blair Loeb, conductor Katya Horner, photographer Johnathan Felton, artist Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer Carol Simmons, hair stylist Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet Greg Carter, director Kenn McLaughlin, theater director Justin Whitney, musician Antone Pham, tattoo artist Susie Silbert, crafts Lauralee Capelo, hair designer Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director J.J. Johnston, theater director Mary Margaret Hansen, artist Richard Tallent, photographer Viswa Subbaraman, opera director Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist Sonja Roesch, gallery owner Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor Sandy Ewen, musician Camella Clements, puppeteer Wade Wilson, gallery owner Magid Salmi, photographer Carl Williams, playwright

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