President of Creative Edge Master Shop, Jim Belilove, is what you would call ahead of his time.
“New technology enables new artists,” he said, and that’s exactly what he has been doing for the architectural design community for the past 28 years as a pioneer in waterjet technology and fabrication. Creative Edge Master Shop was founded in 1988 with just two prototype waterjet machines he’d purchased from a nearby start-up company that went out of business. Today, Belilove employs approximately 30-40 people who handle 40-50 projects a month. And not only does the company offer material sourcing expertise, but its custom capabilities are endless. With one set of machinery and one set of programs for a wide variety of material options, customers enjoy an unprecedented freedom.
“I love working with the most imaginative designers,” Belilove said, as no challenge is too great for Creative Edge.
We outline the company’s process below.
A Team Effort
Creative Edge offers a full spectrum of front-end services, often resulting in a very collaborative effort between the project manager and designer. But whether they arrive with a full AutoCAD file in hand or a vague idea in their heads, Creative Edge can always make design dreams come true, helping to identify the best colors, materials, and dimensions to make it happen in the most cost-friendly way possible. It also creates installation kits, mapping, and labeling of each piece of a project to ensure a foolproof setup.
Creative Edge can source and fabricate almost any type of material (except real wood and woven carpets). The list goes on and on, from all types of stone to stainless steel, aluminum, ceramics, precious stones, carpet tile, vinyls, and much more. It also offers the forms and detailing for pour-in-place terrazzo projects. It is ideal if field materials are provided so that colors and materials can be sourced uniformly and match the actual waterjet-cut piece as closely as possible.
Where the Magic Happens
Oddly enough, the waterjet cutting component is the shortest part of the entire design process, Belilove explained with a laugh. Once a design is interpreted by layout, joint, color designation, grain, etc., Creative Edge designers have to place the parts on the relevant substrate, which can be a tile, a large sheet of metal, or a slab of stone. Every color is then mapped to the piece of material to be cut. The water is pressurized over 50,000 pounds per square inch, as it’s shot out of a 16th of an inch head, combined with an abrasive powder comprised of crushed garnet. The piece can always be handled by hand as the water is not hot.
Works of Art
The business focuses mainly on floorcoverings, but about 10 percent is dedicated to creating walls with a serious wow factor. But whether a wall or floor, these masterpieces weave almost any material (or blend of materials) into art. Thanks to the waterjet technology, parts and forms can be created in an unprecedented manner.
Photography courtesy of Creative Edge Master Shop