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Lucky Numbers
DIY Network show adds up for Flux Design

By MARK CONCANNON

April 2013

The luckiest of numbers for Flux Design owner/president Jeremy Shamrowicz is 13: 2013 is the 13th year that his company (located in Riverwest) has been in existence. And the DIY (Do It Yourself) cable network has begun airing the first of 13 episodes of "Made in Milwaukee," a reality show featuring Flux in action.

Flux has 20 full-time employees housed in an 18,000-square-foot space, working with steel, concrete, plastic and wood. Flux constructs everything from furniture and fixtures to ornate, gigantic pieces of art for residential and commercial projects. Flux has worked on more than 50 local restaurants including Swig, Louisa’s Trattoria, Trinity Irish Pubs and Water Buffalo.

The company has always been known for its non-linear vibe. Designers play video games on a mammoth screen, hold Nerf-gun wars or intense air hockey games when they feel blocked creatively. That reputation earned them a spot on national cable TV.

"DIY was looking for an interesting, energetic group that was kind of crazy for a show where people design stuff, build it and install it," Shamrowicz says. The network consulted a Chicago design magazine for tips about candidates in the Windy City. "The first words out of the editor’s mouth were, ‘Milwaukee. Flux Design,’" Shamrowicz says.

DIY gave the green light for a pilot and then signed Flux to a 13-episode deal. "Made in Milwaukee" airs Friday nights at 10. Shamrowicz chose the title among many suggested names, which included the word "Flux." "I want people to know this city is kick-butt; they don’t know how cool it is," he says.

On each episode, Shamrowicz talks with a homeowner about a certain project, but doesn’t tell the homeowner exactly what he’ll do, revealing the finished product at the end of the show.

The irrepressible Shamrowicz and his animated crew create intriguing, unconventional yet functional designs, intellectually bouncing off the walls and brainstorming on the fly. "I wanted to put something in each of these shows that has uniqueness."

The Flux crew often wears kilts on the job. "My wife likes how they look and they have pouches for our tools," Shamrowicz says. He admits he was taken aback the first time he saw the show. "I told the guys that they never told me I acted that goofy."

Flux Design, which had prospered through word-of-mouth referrals, is now enjoying a sizeable bump in business because of "Made in Milwaukee."

Does Shamrowicz, who gathers his crew every Friday night to watch the show at a local establishment they worked on, envision himself as the Bob Villa of the 21st century on national TV? "We’ve sat down as a group and decided we could do seasons and seasons of this. There’s lots to do. We love building unique spaces in houses. We feel if you’re going to build something, make it cool."

 


This story ran in the April 2013 issue of: