Artistic fabrication soars to new heights at M.R. Walls
Designing walls without limits is always the goal at M.R. Walls, where innovative concepts are brought to life by Mario Romano and his imaginative team.
In designing multi-dimensional, carved and textured products, the Santa Monica, California, based producer of virtually indestructible Corian® Solid Surface walls has blended a background in construction and design with a love for nature and a passion for blazing trails.
“We’ve designed and made some really complex homes in Santa Monica and Venice, and we love pushing the design and architectural language — and finding solutions to do that,” Romano says. “We bring everything together as a solution for architects, designers, contractors, and developers because these are our customers, as well as homeowners.”
Those solutions add up to one-of-a-kind products featuring patterns that don’t repeat — walls as unique as thumbprints or, as Romano notes, the stripes of a zebra. Commercial and residential customers in search of branded or personal designs with distinct architectural
character come to M.R. Walls in search of something truly unique.
“Our design expressivity and how quickly we can execute far surpasses anyone in the industry,” says Sawyer Romano, who handles marketing and content strategy for M.R. Walls. “Our pieces have an aesthetic that makes them identifiable; when someone sees our surfaces, they know that it’s us.”
Walls without limits
Opportunities for creativity and endless variations on single themes are boundless at M.R. Walls, which deftly pairs dramatic backlighting with surfaces machined at variable Z-depths for stunning effect.
Located in Venice, California, the aptly named Wave House was inspired by patterns found in nature and is one of M.R. Walls’ most instantly recognizable projects.
Designed and produced to be installed easily in any room — including wet rooms, showers, and kitchens — M.R. Walls can “flow” around windows and turn corners for maximum design impact.
Each piece is produced and labeled, then delivered and assembled on-site without visible seams. Products to be installed in distant locations, such as Australia and the Middle East, are produced in shops as close in proximity as possible to their final destinations.
“We’re here in Santa Monica, but we’re selling all over the country and all over the globe,” says Studio Manager Chris Wellman. “The exciting part is that we’re a brand apart, yet we’re still a little secret people don’t really know about — and that’s fun. We’re able to install all over the world without us actually having to be there.”
Romano and his team use the Rhinoceros® computer-aided-design (CAD) system, which includes the Grasshopper 3D programming language, to create their designs. Completed designs are exported as threedimensional .dfx files that are imported into the computeraided-manufacturing (CAM) systems of machine shops near and far, where CNC production is performed.
“We have a beautiful design and a beautiful rendering, but then the underbelly is the shop drawings and the production file that we can send to the CNC machines,” Mario Romano says. “When we find out that another fabricator or machinist has ALPHACAM, we’re relieved because we know that they’ll be able to process our files.”
“When we find out that another fabricator or machinist has ALPHACAM, we’re relieved because we know that they’ll be able to process our files.”
Mario Romano, M.R. Walls Owner
Reliable production for innovative design
The team at M.R. Walls isn’t able to be on site for production in cases where walls are produced in distant locales, so they join forces with shops that utilize ALPHACAM at every opportunity to help ensure error-free fabrication.
As maintaining design integrity is integral, they feel most comfortable when working with machine shops that use software capable of seamlessly importing geometry.
“We prefer our manufacturers around the world and locally to use ALPHACAM because it makes it really easy for our designs to be translated,” says Lead Designer Carlo Gomez.
As Romano and his team design products with complex surfaces, they prefer to rely on a CAM solution capable of generating a seamless toolpath for challenging surfaces. “Part of our design process is to have a variable Z-depth that’s changing throughout the line work — and ALPHACAM reads that, which is fantastic,” Mario Romano says.
“The software is user-friendly for our fabricators around the world, which makes it easier for us to translate everything and to talk them through the process when needed,” Gomez says. “ALPHACAM makes it easy for us to just drag and drop our line work or our .dxf files into the program, and it reads the variable depth — which is the most important part of our product.”
The strength of M.R. Walls’ designs and shop drawings has paved the way for smooth production, especially in instances when ALPHACAM is used to generate NC code. Likewise, the strength of instructional videos and installation guides developed by Mario Romano has paved the way for smooth installations the world over.
As handling machining challenges — especially across the miles — can be a headache, Romano appreciates that he can quickly receive support from ALPHACAM.
“Working with companies that use ALPHACAM boosts confidence because we’re not having to solve a problem for someone else because they have another CAM software,” Romano says. “We learned that we can bottle everything up and say, ‘Oh, you’ve got ALPHACAM? Great, we can partner up right away.’”
About the company
Name: M.R. Walls
Business: Exclusive line of multidimensional, textured walls
Key benefits achieved
- Seamless import of design data
- Ability to easily read variable Z-axis depths
- Facilitates ease with collaboration, even at great distances