Cosmo Barbaro was born in Erie, Pa on January 9, 1973. He earned a B.F.A in woodworking from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1996, and received his M.F.A. in furniture design from the Rochester Institute of Technology’s school for American craftsmen in 1999. In 2006 he was commissioned by a designer to build two one of a kind Steinway art case pianos, and has worked at several universities across the south east United States; which include Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Buffalo State College, and Murray State University. Currently he is owner of Cosmo Barbaro Furniture where he primarily focuses on commission and speculative work. Cosmo’s work has been featured in numerous publications across the nation and in addition his work has been in numerous galleries and shows nationally and internationally.
Beauty and elegance are goals that I try to attain with each new design. The work has a classic feel that is influenced in part by Art Deco artists and my everyday experiences in life. I unconsciously digest visual information from nature and man-made items. Inspiration is derived from the texture of a particular sea shell, the color of a unique humming bird, to a machined part that I find interesting. A visual dictionary is created that will be utilized in future designs. These items show up in the use of color, texture, and alternative materials like plastic, metal, paint, glass, slate, color pencil, and leather.
This combination of classic and modern qualities creates a type of modern Art Deco furniture. The concepts behind each design balances between speculative and conceptual but always emphasizes a high level of craftsmanship. Each piece is supported by several key elements in my work such as, proportion, line and form. An equally important quality of the work is attention to detail. Examples of this are used in veneers, bent lamination, inlays, dentil molding, and hand carved textures that are not easy to execute, but are related to the overall concept of the work. I enjoy pushing design and craftsmanship to their limits, and utilizing processes that push my abilities as a designer and craftsman.