Carpenter’s son Chris Valenti designs museum displays - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Carpenter’s son Chris Valenti designs museum displays

May 2nd, 2017 development
Carpenter’s son Chris Valenti designs museum displays

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski


Growing up in New York, Chris Valenti remembers having the itch to build things.

“I knew when I got older that I would be building something,” he said. “I just didn’t know what.”

Valenti, who lives in the Suggs Corona Village subdivision, pursued a degree in electrical engineering and moved to the Southwest. His desktop bored him, so, inspired by his father’s career as a union carpenter, Valenti and his wife, Kate Valenti, founded CK Valenti Designs in 2004. The six-person company, based on East Warner Road, focuses on crafting custom fixtures and interactive displays for museums.

“We’re a specialty fabrication shop, working with wood and metal fabrication and plastic fabrication,” Valenti said. “We started out focusing on wood and metal. Then we moved into the technology world. That’s what took us through the downturn. Then, wood and metal started coming back.

“Now our primary focus is the museum and theming world, with an emphasis on wood and metal projects,” he said. “We integrate technology into that.”

Recently, CK Valenti Designs installed displays for the Heard Museum’s Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit, which runs through August 20. The displays also reuse casework that CK Valenti Designs created for the Heard Museum’s previous exhibit, Beauty Speaks for Us.

“He built platforms for the mannequins, which have the outfits on them,” said Melissa Simmons, exhibit designer for the Heard Museum.

“I worked with him to design and create those. They turned out great. They’re perfect. It’s great working with him. He is really great with quality and keeping in touch. He kept me updated on issues he ran into and ideas he had on how to improve the construction of the items.”

CK Valenti Designs has become known for its museum work around the Valley. Last summer, it created an interactive display for the Fiesta Bowl Museum in Scottsdale.

“They have 128 college football helmets,” Valenti said. “We created wood floating shelves and integrated LEDs into every helmet. Then we developed kiosks that hold tablets. So, when fans come in and select a team on the kiosk, the helmet lights up, plays a fight song and gives facts. That’s where the technology merges with the wood and metal side of business.”

Valenti also works on residential projects as well as cabinetry/millwork, furniture and metal patina. In the coming months, he will finish work for Scottsdale’s Museum of the West: Western Spirit and continue to create proprietary displays.

“With each job, there’s a learning curve,” he said. “We take on what a lot of other shops won’t. They don’t want to take on the challenge.

“It’s definitely created a niche for us and that’s what we’ve become known for. We have an array of equipment that other shops won’t carry. We do the jobs well.”

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(Photos by Niamh Sutton)

Chris Valenti of CK Valenti Designs focuses on creating custom fixtures and interactive displays for museums.