by Megan Combs
(Ed. Note: Dominic’s company is now called Krunchworks Design+Build, which you can visit at krunchworks.com)
Dominic Falcione’s hands are dirty, but it’s not because he’s been playing in the mud. Rather Falcione, the face behind Rubber City Fab (RCF), has been hard at work shaping and welding metal into beautiful, useful sculptures.
Falcione, a former employee of the University of Akron’s Myers School of Art, made RCF his full-time work about three months ago, but he has been creating metal fixtures and furnishings for quite some time.
“I needed to find a place to grow, and this area of town is growing,” Falcione says. “I just needed to do something different and new after 10 years at the university.”
The building RCF now calls home, at 380 Water Street, was once the corporate headquarters for B.W. Rogers Co., a long-time Akron manufacturer of hydraulic pumps. When he first moved into the Water Street building, RCF was called Harmonix, but Falcione changed the name about two years ago.
“The name comes from Akron being the Rubber City and Fab as in ‘fabrication’ or also ‘fabulous,” Falcione smiles. “But I don’t see this as a name that’s tied to me. I envision this as a place where people can come and do this kind of work whenever they want. Rubber City Fab would be more of a building name.”
Falcione wants to make greater use of the RCF building by offering space to budding graphic design firms, fashion houses, other metal sculptors or people just looking for a meeting space that has a business-like atmosphere. He hopes the ground level will become an artist workspace where someone can rent a machine for an hour or a day, or metalsmithers could share equipment.
“My vision is to have a space for workshops or skillshops,” Falcione says. “It would be a little bit like Summit Artspace, but dirtier. The missing component at Summit Artspace is a workshop where people can build even small things. RCF could enable people to get creative and do it.”
Know it or not, you’ve probably seen Falcione’s sculptures around town. Are you familiar with Angel Falls’ Highland Square coffee house? That new, colorful metal sign is his. So are the bright green tree surrounds out front that can be used as a bike rack, dog tie, chair or impromptu jungle gym. He created the giant Lite Brite for the Akron Art Museum for First Night last year. The little green trees outside of Bricco on Main Street—those are his work, too.
But besides creating beautiful, functional public art, Falcione also accepts work on residential items, such as chairs, fixtures, simple metal sculptures and more.
“I would love to do more signage and more work with light,” Falcione says. “It’s a great marriage of what I like to do: electrical design and metal sculpting.”
But sometimes the work gets lonely, Falcione says. So what keeps him going, and what inspires his designs?
“I get inspiration from architecture, city life and nature,” Falcione says. “And I love the challenges that come with designing something new. You have to make sure it’ll last through all weather, find the best lighting, lay it out perfectly. I like all that. It’s the perfect stew for me.”
To see more of Dominic’s work, check out his website rubbercityfab.com or his Facebook page facebook.com/rubber-city-fab. If you’re interested in helping RCF become a place where artists can collaborate, contact Dominic at rubbercityfab (at) gmail (dot) com.
Megan Combs, an amateur artist at best, prefers when her hands are covered with paint.