This month, Robert Zahner, Senior Vice President of A. Zahner Company is featured in 435 Magazine as part of a multipage spread celebrating the creative icons of Kansas City.
Writen by Nancy Staab, The article highlights eight visionaries who push the limits of their professions and set new tastes in the fields of architecture and design, sculpture, events and floral design, and commercial photography. The article featured a number of Kansas City creatives, including The Wade Brothers as well as event designer Dan Meiner and artist Christopher Kurtz.
The article also highlights Jesse Hufft, whose architecture firm Hufft Projects is making waves around Kansas City and beyond. The firm is one of Zahner’s clients and is rapidly growing as an architectural powerhouse.
Quoted below is an excerpt from the 435 Magazine Article:
“Just call them alchemists of metal. A. Zahner Co. has been a successful KC-based family business for 118 years. However, it was the evolution of modern architecture from boxes to complex curvilinear shapes, designed digitally, and often clad in metal, that catapulted Zahner to a global engineering powerhouse. Architect Frank Gehry popularized this new style with the titanium curves of his landmark Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, (1997) and took Zahner along for the ride as the fabricator of choice for his signature curves. Gehry and Zahner have since collaborated on several projects, including the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park in Chicago (2004) and the Experience Music Project Museum in Seattle (2000).
Indeed, as The New York Times observes, nearly every contemporary “starchitect” has Zahner on speed dial, including Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, Daniel Libeskind, Herzog & de Meuron, SANAA, and Thom Mayne of Morphosis. A slew of AIA design awards have followed, and last fall, The Atlantic penned a glowing feature about how “America’s most interesting buildings” are born in KC at Zahner’s innovative materials lab.
What is the secret of this fourth-generation company run by brothers L. William Zahner (CEO/President) and Robert Zahner (Senior VP)? Well, for starters, they offer 200 skilled metal fabricators, craftsmen and engineers; a patented process that reduces sophisticated designs to individual parts for rapid manufacturing with maximum precision; state-of-the-art metals (stainless steel, aluminum, copper, zinc, titanium); and treatments that range from their proprietary Angel Hair texturing to their Inverted Seam technique for flawless, mirror-like facades. For an art project in Doha, Qatar, the company cut metal to resemble an intricate lace doily. For the 2015 renovation of Petersen Automotive Museum in L.A., Zahner created 308 custom “ribbons” of metal, no two alike, for the wavy facade.
And Zahner has not neglected their own backyard. The company collaborated with Moshe Safdie on the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and with Populous on the 2009 renovation of Kauffman Stadium. However, the expansion of their own corporate HQ at 9th Street and Paseo perhaps represents the best visual advertisement for the company. Known as the “Cloud Wall,” the groovy, undulating facade not only reveals the engineering skeleton of the building, but also showcases Zahner’s astonishing magic with metal — to make it appear as light and pliable as taffy.“