Copper in the Arts

August 2008

Pomegranate Metals: A Family Legacy

By Melanie Votaw

MGM Grand Lion by Pomegranate Metals

Pomegranate Metals helped cast the famous MGM Grand Lion in Las Vegas, NV

Photograph by Derek Jensen

Metal work has always been a part of LaMar Noorda's life. His father had a sheet metal shop in Salt Lake City, where LaMar and his brother, Chris, grew up helping their father and learned about the industry. Today, LaMar owns and runs Pomegranate Metals and Noorda Sheet Metal Company in Las Vegas, while brother Chris runs Noorda Architectural Metals in Jordan, Utah.

Pomegranate and Noorda Sheet Metal have been in business in Nevada for 14 years, and each company specializes in different products. While Noorda Sheet Metal concentrates on architectural metal work, Pomegranate Metals focuses on decorative pieces, such as fireplaces and furniture. Noorda's work can be seen all along the Vegas strip from domes and church steeples to the replica of the Statue of Liberty and the lion sculpture in front of the MGM Grand Hotel. The company has also produced a great deal of decorative metal work and ceiling panels inside several of the casinos, such as the Monte Carlo.

Pomegranate works in copper, brass, bronze, zinc and stainless steel. The company has become known for its own welding techniques, particularly with copper, that make it possible for them to build countertops with integral sinks and backsplashes. "You can stamp designs right into the countertop, right into the zinc, right into the backsplash, and make one big piece," says Noorda. "Big bathtubs, fireplaces, mantelpieces, and hearths out of copper have become popular."

Pomegranate has also become known for the staining of hot rolled steel. "Very little of our stuff is painted," he says. "Mostly, the metal is colored with heat and chemicals." This unique staining process allows the company to create furniture that looks like wood. "People are surprised to find out that it's metal," he says. "They go up and knock on it." The stain brings out a "grain" that is unique to each piece of metal, and the finish is "purple-reddish-brownish to black" in color. Of course, the company has its own patina finishes for copper as well.

Noorda and Pomegranate have about 40 steady employees, but the number varies. Since they contract work, they sometimes have to hire additional personnel to complete specific jobs, and this can take their numbers up to 150 employees.

Because they require such large quantities of metal - 30,000 to 400,000 pounds at a time - they must obtain their materials from a variety of sources. Metal prices fluctuate drastically, so they have to check the numbers frequently in order to get the best value.

While most artists and manufacturers are limited in scope, due to lack of space and equipment, Noorda Sheet Metal's facility provides Pomegranate with a particular advantage over its competition. "What we have is the advantage of a big production shop," Noorda says. "We have 220-ton press brakes. For a company to set up that kind of equipment to build furniture would be ridiculous. You'd never recoup your costs from a million dollar press brake. Since we have industrial work, we have that kind of equipment, which means we can press out shapes that an artist can't do and, certainly, a manufacturer of production furniture couldn't do."

The scale of its production shop allows Pomegranate to produce large custom pieces, such as 40-foot conference tables or shelves as tall as 22 feet. "You can't really do that in wood unless they're built in place," says Noorda. "These are actually built and shipped. They can be bolted together once they're there."

Pomegranate focuses primarily on one-of-a-kind custom-made pieces for designers and architects. "A few times, we've done the furniture shows," says Noorda, "and actually, we've sold more than we could produce. We need to increase our production capabilities before we do more of those."

Instead, the company is well-known in the industry for its ability to turn a concept into a reality. Pomegranate's philosophy is "if you can draw it, we can build it." The company likes a challenge.

"We love everything metal," says Noorda, "and we love to turn anything into metal. If an architect, designer, or owner comes to us and wants something that's never been built before, we love to take it from somebody's imagination to paper to processes to the final finished product."

Resources:

Pomegranate Metals, 4250 Production Court, Las Vegas, NV

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