After spending years in the corporate world, Andrew Kates felt that he needed something more. Convinced that he wanted to open a delicatessen, he spent two weeks working at Zingermans Deli in Ann Arbor, where he quickly realized that, while he feels they have the greatest sandwiches on earth, it was not a career that he wanted to pursue.
As he continued to try various endeavors, he ventured into a store on Clybourn Avenue in Chicago called Jayson Home, where he saw a mosaic table that he thought was spectacular. So he took a class and learned how to make mosaic tables. After trying to sell these tables at art fairs throughout Chicago, he quickly learned that it would be very difficult to earn a living selling mosaic tables.
While participating in one of these art fairs, a passerby asked him if he could melt the glass together in his mosaic tables. He let that thought ruminate for about nine months, and then decided to purchase a small kiln and give glass fusing a try. He decided to start small, so he chose glass cabinet knobs and handles as his product. And 15 years later, Sietto is stronger than ever. All of its knobs and pulls are handcrafted in small batches, with no shortcuts and the purest materials available.
With a sincere belief that every detail matters, it takes great pride is making sure every piece of decorative hardware it makes is the perfect complement to its customers’ cabinetry. They are excited to expand their business, as they venture into decorative hardware made of all metal, which will be introduced in the first quarter of 2020. Stay tuned!
The People of Sietto
Andrew founded Sietto, making true his dream of starting his own business. Beginning in a small windowless studio in the Cornelia Arts Building in near north Chicago, he has grown the business every year, and Sietto currently calls the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago its home.
A University of Michigan alumnus, Andrew worked for Xerox Corporation, as well as in the commercial real estate industry, before launching Sietto in 2005. He spends his free time playing basketball and broomball, and continues to root for his hometown Cleveland Browns and Indians, despite the endless heartache that accompanies it. An avid foodie, he studies and frequents the many food establishments that Chicago has to offer.
Many people in the industry have asked him, “why don’t you expand your business to encompass other kitchen and bath products, such as towel bars, door hardware or tiles?” His answer is always the same. He wants his company to specialize in just one area of expertise – designing and manufacturing unique and exquisite decorative hardware. And that’s all.
Ev is a Chicago-based artist who joined Sietto in 2019. His time is dedicated toward making display boards for showrooms, as well as assisting in the studio wherever necessary. A recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ev’s small scale sculptural works deal with “found” material experimentation using mostly glass and metal, which makes working with cabinet hardware the perfect fit.
In his free time Ev likes to read short story collections, care for his houseplants, as well as expand his art practice through photo documentation of landscaping/yard spaces. Ev is also passionate about communicating with others about the effects of climate change, either through his artworks or with zines that summarize health risks through info-graphs and collected facts.