Silencing the Skeptics
While Hall and Fell believed there was a market for custom-made furniture and art from salvaged airplanes, they were met with more skepticism than support, which includes Hall’s now ex-wife. But today a team of scavengers travel the world to retrieve plane parts, going to places such as Alaska, Thailand, Grissom Air Reserve Base in Indiana and an airplane boneyard in the Mojave Desert.
“We find our parts all over the world,” Hall explains. “Commercial aircraft like the Boeing or Airbus aircraft are easier to obtain. However, we seek out the older military airframes, which are nearly impossible to get now.”
Once the planes have been stripped of their usable parts, the MotoArt crew returns to El Segundo, where they begin to reinvent the pieces. In addition to making furniture, MotoArt creates sculptures from wings and propellers, lighting from components such as engine pistons and partitions from portions of retired fuselages.
The biggest sellers, according to Hall, are conference tables, reception desks and executive desks.
“Our most requested [pieces] are the World War II airframes that we work with,” he says. “However, the biggest sellers are our Boeing 747 engine cowling pieces.”
Those massive cowling pieces cover the airplane engine when they’re in service, but MotoArt transforms them into gleaming reception desks, bars and even entryways.
“The hardest part about [making a piece] is saying goodbye to it,” he says. “We love our work and we sometimes spend upwards of 500 hours on a single piece. They are truly conversation pieces.”
They’re doing more than starting conversations; they’re also keeping tons of metal out of the scrap yard. Since the business started, it has sold thousand of desks and conference tables, not to mention seating, sculptures and lighting fixtures. And each sale represents one more hunk of metal that will never be considered junk.
See the MotoArt team in action.