Making Components an Art Form
Manoo Mahmoodi started Art for Everyday in his garage with a neighbour back in 1998. Today, Manoo’s son Soroush runs the family business as the president while his father, easing towards retirement, remains CEO.
“We actually still make a lot of things from our very first catalogue,” explained Soroush.
Art for Everyday has a huge catalogue of architectural millwork components. They have about 450 to 500 items in nine different wood pieces, allowing for approximately 5,000 different combinations. Lumber is stocked in alder, hard and soft maple, white oak, red oak, walnut, pine, mahogany, cherry, and hickory. About 1,200 of their components are ready to ship. In terms of their most popular items, their corbels are at the top of the list.
Beyond these, they carry components in a wide variety of categories, everything from textured panels and tiles, to legs and posts, to spools and half-rounds. Each piece goes through a multi-step process, beginning with programming, moving on to blocking, and CNC machining.
These are all processes that Soroush pushed for as he moved up through the company. With an academic background in computer science, he always pushed the company towards technological advancements while never forgetting the importance of hands-on expertise and artistry.
“Half of the work used to be hand done by our master carvers, but now approximately 95% is done by machines, but our master carvers hand finish each piece,” said Soroush. “We can do pretty much anything with wood and a CNC.”
What differentiates Art for Everyday is that post-machining, every piece is hand-finished by carving, chiseling, and sanding by expert sanders and master carvers. And of course, the last step is quality control. It’s this expert touch that brings their pieces to the next level.
All their manufacturing is performed in a 50,000 sq ft. facility located in Toronto with about 50 employees, most of whom are friends, family, or community members. The largest portion of their staff used to be their master carvers, but many of them retired, leaving them with just four, all of whom have been with the company since the beginning.
“Our custom capabilities have garnered the attention of designers, architects, DIYers, kitchen cabinet makers, etc., worldwide,” said Soroush. “Our clients mainly work in kitchen design, but we also cater to interior design and architectural firms.”
They have an extensive list of over 10,000 clients, going far beyond these typical customers. They also have a history of working with places of worship and governments, creating unique, intricate pieces. Their range is incurably wide, everything from solid walnut benches, like something you would find in a courthouse, to animal carvings. Their creativity and intricacy are limitless, and their work lives up to their name.