PaperCity Magazine

March 2017 - Dallas

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75 Italy, many dating to the early 1900s, and workers still use the same techniques that craftsmen have used for centuries in Europe to make plaster — a mixture of gypsum, hemp, and water. In the late 1970s, Casci stopped using traditional animal-fat molds in favor of modern silicone molds that are more fl exible and last longer. "[Plaster] is a highly skilled art, and when people buy from us, they get art," says Marynick. M arynick and Fuqua follow in the footsteps of Giovanni Primo Casci, an Italian immigrant who founded his company in 1930 and traveled from city to city, creating ornamental plaster for some of Texas' most prestigious homes, banks, and municipal buildings. Royce Renfro bought it from Casci in 1972, and the founder stayed on for a year to teach him the business. Royce and his wife, Jan, built the company together, but in the last few years, the Renfros fl oated the idea of selling it, and even considered closing it. Casci's doors might have shut for good if Marynick and Fuqua hadn't stepped in. Marynick, who has degrees in business and economics from Southern Methodist University and Harvard and has worked in private equity, says the acquisition wasn't so much about making money as it was a perfect fi t. With a certifi cate in design from Harvard Graduate School of Design, Marynick is also an amateur artist and seems armed with all the right tools. "I have the business background, but I also understand the art and what's behind it," he says. "I can talk to the artisans in the shop, and I can talk to the clients." For Fuqua, raised alongside a highly regarded architect father, architecture school at UT Arlington and summers studying in France and Italy have prepared him to appreciate the centuries-old craft. In the United States, Marynick and Fuqua know of fewer than a half- dozen companies that still specialize in ornamental plasterwork: Casci and Arlington-based American Masonry Supply, which was founded 15 years ago formed with former Casci employees, and others in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Buying Casci was a weighted investment, as they've taken on the task of caring for an esteemed part of Dallas' architectural and design heritage. "Almost every large old home in Dallas has Casci plaster," says Marynick. Much of their "PLASTER IS LIKE A BALLET COMPANY OR SYMPHONY … FOR IT TO SURVIVE, YOU NEED PATRONS TO SUPPORT IT." — Wilson Fuqua Ceiling medallions, cornices, and corbels inside Casci Plaster's warehouse original plasterwork is found in the mansions along the city's most storied streets — Swiss Avenue, Kessler Park, Armstrong Avenue, and Lakeside Drive, as well as in the many Georgian-style buildings at SMU, several churches in the Park Cities, and the historic Magnolia Hotel downtown. Despite limited availability, ornamental plasterwork is still in demand. Society decorator John Astin Perkins and highly regarded architects Wilson McClure and Hal Thompson, who designed homes in Dallas and the Park Cities in the 1920s and '30s, kept the momentum going for decades, employing Casci for many of their jobs. Fuqua's father, architect Wilson Fuqua, estimates he has collaborated with Casci in the past 25 years on the restoration of 14 Hal Thompson houses, including Peggy and Carl Sewell's Highland Park home. In 2001, renowned British architect Quilan Terry hired Casci to create a massive 20-foot carved plaster ceiling of his design for (continued on page 76)

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