Made in Tampa Bay: Textured glass surfaces transform spaces

- The natural beauty of the Bay Area has inspired everything from art to music to architectural design, and interior design is no exception.

There’s a shop in Tampa’s Channelside District that specializes in turning the shoreline into the centerpiece of your home.

Downing Designs specializes in crafting counters and other surfaces from glass, and they start at the very beginning - with sand.

“Down here in Florida, we've got a lot of customers that want to spend all day on the beach, and then when they come home from the beach, they want to bring home that water and the shells and the waves back in with them," Jeff Downing said as he gave FOX 13 a tour of the shop.

He started back in 1999 when he bought a house. Downing said he wasn’t finding the materials he wanted for what he wanted to express.

He calls it coastal contemporary fusion.

Downing’s first creations were concrete countertops made using seashells, mother of pearl, glass, and other elements.

Today, his shop mostly deals with custom glass pieces, which are intended to transform a space.

"When we go out and talk designs with our customers, first thing we want to do is get the flow of the space, the room, the kitchen typically. Within that space, we want to create a texture that flows with that space,” Downing said.

After they customize a design, Downing’s team fires up the kiln.

After cutting, fusing, and firing, they come up with an LED-lit, 10-foot glass bar top, with textures that shadow the floor below.

They make sinks, tabletops, shelving, counters and more. Lighting casts shadows and reflections across the floors, walls, and ceilings.

"It's a very very interesting material in that I can take the exact same manufacturing glass, the exact same design, the exact same everything and fire it twice, and be looking at it twice, like 'wow, that came out different,'” Downing said.

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