Ice ice baby
Embraces the cold for a visit to a family-run company in Newchapel, which turns water into works of art
If you visited RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2017, you may have wandered past a garden called The Power to Make a Difference. The garden, designed by Joe Frances at Gardens for Good, won a silver medal and, in the middle, featured a huge ice sculpture with irises frozen inside.
The sculpture was the work of the team at PSD Ice Art, who I had the pleasure of meeting recently to find out the the cold hard facts about what makes this family-run company, whose work has appeared on TV programmes like This Morning and can be seen in London Ice Bar and at events across the globe.
PSD Ice Art is tucked away on the eastern edge of the county, and is run by husband and wife team Percy Salazar-diaz and Nicky Salazar with a close knit group of professionals, including two other sculpting geniuses, all dedicated to creating amazing and innovative works of ice.
Master craftsman, Percy, originated from the Peruvian Amazon, growing up in 30 degree-plus heat before moving to Russia where, by some contrast, it was -30 degrees Celsius so he’s quite at home in the working freezer, which goes down to minus seven or eight degrees. “Ice for me is a material” he says, “I am an artist and have worked with clay, stone and wood as well.”
An artist he truly is. Now in the UK for 26 years, his imagination and creative flair has been the foundation of the business. Formerly a chef at the Savoy back in the early noughties, where food carving was his forte, he moved into the ice carving industry and never looked back.
Nicky and Percy, who met at a Salsa club in 1999, set their sights high and combining their creative and business skills, have become a premium supplier of ice art nationwide. Their frozen raw materials are stored in two huge temperature-controlled containers on the premises with the ability to produce some themselves onsite enabling them to turn water into works of art quickly and efficiently.
PSD’S biggest client is the Below Zero ICEBAR, in Mayfair, which attracts 200,000 visitors a year. The firm supplies around 30 tonnes of the frozen stuff including ice drink glasses and sculptures – for one concept they were asked to create a full-size London taxi and the Trafalgar Square lions from ice.
The talented team also provides stunning works for cruise ships, swanky events and for use in television adverts. There was even likenesses of Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby produced for the announcement of the return of ITV’S Dancing on Ice. They constantly explore new ideas using acrylic colour techniques, lighting and printing effects ensuring they stand out from their competition and are now doing live demonstration and team-building events.