Pushing the Boundaries of Creation and Design
For almost a decade, Derek White has poured his talents and energy into bringing two-dimensional ideas into three-dimensional life. But it’s not just any kind of product he’s building—it’s the kind that lasts, inspires awe and appreciation, and becomes part of a legacy passed from generation to generation.
The place where these magical transformations occur is Bird on the Wire Studios, White’s sought-after creative manufacturing shop located a few blocks east of Knoxville’s historic Old City, where the owner works with clients to build distinctive designs with vision, precision, and heart.
“The essence of creative manufacturing is that it’s one-of-a-kind and will last forever,” says White, whose specializes in chandeliers. He is one of the only custom lighting artists within 500 radial miles of Knoxville capable of UL certification for surface-mounted luminaires. His creations also include custom lighting, corporate sculpture, retail display, fire pits, specialty cabinetry, architectural signage, and more.
Bird on the Wire Studios works hard to “marry design with execution,” White says. “A lot of people can come up with ideas and even design them, but have no idea how to bring them to fruition. We try to do the things that no one else can do.” One example among many in the Knoxville area that you may have seen is a metal sculpture on the riverfront depicting mirrored silhouettes of people enjoying typical downtown activities.
Among the unique aspects of Bird on the Wire Studios is White’s emphasis on collaboration. A client “can be involved in the idea, the design process, and in choosing materials,” he says. “We can build almost anything together.”
The ideal customer comes to White with a desire for “a one-of-a-kind, original design created by craftsmen who not only can execute the design idea but make it structurally sound to last,” he says.
Those who have trusted Bird on the Wire Studios (many of them as repeat customers) include banks, large hotels, new retail establishments, restaurants, and homeowners with a penchant for adding a stylish design that turns heads while reinforcing an identity—whether of a business, a family, an individual—and becoming a cherished heirloom.
“In a commercial situation, we want what we create to be a seamless fit in their environment while still achieving the ‘wow’ effect and reflecting the brand. In a residential setting, we want it to mean so much that the kids will fight over it someday,” White says with a laugh.
White also has been deeply engaged in Knoxville’s arts community, supporting and championing fellow artists, makers, fabricators, and more. He believes in giving back, often welcoming college engineering, art, and architecture students to his shop “to help them make the connection between designing something and understanding how it will be assembled and come to life.”
In a world where products have become increasingly disposable, Bird on the Wire Studios is committed to creating finished products with longevity in mind. For all of the unique ideas and projects that his studio has taken on, White says one common theme unites them all: “They want it to last. They’ve seen plenty of things that have had to be thrown away in a month or a year. They’re ready to invest in work that stand the test of time. And that’s what we can do.”
Bird on the Wire Studios (205) 335-4715 1300 McCalla Avenue Knoxville, Tennessee www.birdonthewirestudios.com