Nicky Salazar, the ‘Ice Lady’ and co-owner of ice sculptors PSD Ice Art, talks to us about life in (and out) of the freezer.
PSD Ice Art create luxury ice sculptures, drinks/vodka luges, ice bars and facades, logo/personalised ice discs for drinks as well as logo ice sculptures to name just a few of their ice creations. They also do ‘Posh Ice’ like Japanese Ice Balls, Bar Ice Chipping Blocks and ice cubes (standard, rocks, shards or diamonds)….and even an amazing Igloo at the top of the Shard in London!
If you’re looking for a very unique element for an event then we can definitely recommend PSD Art to create something new with the wow factor! They can design stunning ice sculptures for all styles, events and themes/occasions with their creative team of sculptors, lead by Percy Salazar-Diaz. As well as the ice sculptures they can work wonders with food presentation, from encasing fruit, fish and vegetables in an ice wall to creating an oyster/seafood bar or dessert/ice cream table. We caught up with Nicky Salazar, co-owner of PSD Ice Art to find out more.
Chainsaws, chisels and chipping tools – ice sculpting isn’t for the faint hearted! How did you get into it?
Ice sculpting is our all consuming passion! It’s so unique from any other industry and we love that – my husband Percy Salazar-Diaz and I co-own and run the business together.
Percy is a self-taught, world-renowned and highly sought after ice sculptor. He started his career in ice following his move to London from Peru, when he became a chef at the Savoy Hotel. Many ice sculptors actually start their careers in the hospitality industry – often learning to carve fruits and vegetables and even cheese butter and chocolate (on a smaller scale). Percy has even sculpted salt. From there he moved on to ice carving and we’ve never looked back.
Tell us a bit about PSD Ice Art and when it was set up…
PSD Ice Art was formed in 2005 and we’ve been ice sculpting ever since. Our office and studio (i.e. our freezers) are in Surrey in a lovely location in the countryside with excellent access to London too, so we have the best of both words.
We are a family-run business – Percy’s son Andrew is also an ice sculptor. It’s a very busy and lively company we’re always working on something exciting.
How can people incorporate your ice designs into their parties?
The possibilities are endless and over the years we’ve been so lucky to be part of so many incredible events and parties. From weddings and birthdays to corporate functions, we get asked to create all sorts of things. Parties usually get off to a good start with a vodka luge. Percy has done a few live carvings at private parties recently. One of our clients really wanted their pet pooch snoopy carved as an ice sculpture.
You’ve created some incredible bespoke designs, what’s the most challenging design you’ve tackled?
PSD Ice Art are the first British ice sculpting company to be chosen to design, sculpt, install and maintain the Belowzero Ice Bar in London – a fact which we are very proud of. In 2018 we created their ‘LondonLand’ theme which was huge success. We’re working on the next theme for 2019 as we speak – we can’t announce the theme until May. It’s going to be very different from the previous one and we can’t wait to reveal it!
We’ve carved huge ice bars for a cruise ship and that was challenging too.
For weddings there really is no limit to what we can do – menu’s and table plans in ice work really well and for flowers we can freeze in blooms for ice table centre’s or ice vases/candle holders. The bride and groom/groom and groom/bride and bride arches are also very popular.
This year it’s all about the likeness in ice – Percy is an expert in sculpting people’s likeness. He’s carved Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield from This Morning, Ben Shepherd and Kate Garraway from GMB and also Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.
What’s an average day like and is your office a refrigerated room?!
It’s -7 degrees in our studio freezer, so you have to get used to working in the cold. We wrap up really warm and once you start becoming absorbed in ice sculpting you forget all about the temperature. Our office is heated though. In the summer it’s great to step in to the freezer to cool off when it all gets a bit too humid.
How can brands use ice to bring their events to life?
One of our favourite commissions was Percy carving two beautiful digital cameras for a promotional event. They were stunning and generated huge public interest for our client at their show. Percy was there doing a live ice carving too which always draws a crowd!
Colour is often an important factor in our designs. As well as providing a ‘snow-fill’ effect we can also add colour in to the ice itself. This works so well especially for logos/brands.
There’s a definite trend for freezing-in products too – we’ve frozen in Nikon ‘Cool Pix’ Cameras, cult beauty products like Aesop, Cadbury chocolate, bottles of luxury spirits and liqueurs, fabulous new books ready to launch, beautiful shoes, Christmas decorations, designer clothing, handbags and perfumes…the list is always growing.
We’re also working with a projection partner called Motion Mapping – we can now project film and moving images on to ice. It means the usual stand graphic displays will look a little flat in comparison to a huge ice wall.
Our clients are always on the lookout for new ideas for workshops and breakout activities for conferences. How can ice carving be used as a team building activity?
If you need a great idea for a team building session, or a fun interlude for a company party or event ‘ice-breaker’ – excuse the pun – then our ice sculpting master classes are the perfect solution.
With the trend in events focusing on mindfulness and sustainability, then this hits your sweet spot squarely on the head.
Ice carving is such an absorbing experience. It completely melts away tension and means you naturally stay ‘present’ in the moment, with the added benefit of feeling rewarded for having achieved something beautiful at the end.
Plus, because the ice sculptures are made of water, they simply melt away – it’s the ultimate eco friendly activity.
Ice sculpting classes can take place throughout the year either indoor or outdoor, in almost any location. They are suitable for all types of team or party; from junior recruits to senior managers and business leaders, whether they form a completely new or established team, it works wonders.
You can choose from a collection of ten ice sculpture designs, ranging from easy to carve, to slightly more challenging. If there is something specific our clients would like everyone to carve, we come up with some ideas for them – we’ve taught people how to sculpt snowmen, mushrooms, seahorses and horses all with great success.
Your sculptures are really beautiful. How do you get the ice so clear?
Thank you, yes, we get asked that question all the time. Put very simply, we don’t use ordinary tap water to make our ice. The water we use passes through our purification system, which removes all the impurities and leaves it the cleanest, clearest water possible. The freezing process is usually around 3 days for a full block, although it can take as much as 5 days during a hot summer.
What happens at the end of an event if we don’t want to be left with a big melted puddle?
Fortunately for the majority of ice sculptures we supply, they can be disposed of at the venue (best to let them know first though…just in case!). By the time the event is finished the sculpture will have lost a lot of weight and so the removal of it will be so much easier. It’s really quite easy really … just pick it up and move it to a safe place to melt. Outside is best although it can sometimes take up to a week to melt depending on the weather and its size. Sometimes it’s easier to break it into smaller pieces (this can be done by tapping the ice at the joints) and placing it in a sink and letting it melt and drain away.
If we’re supplying a larger ice structure such as an ice bar or a very large piece then someone from the PSD Ice Art Team will be close at hand to manage the drainage and subsequently dispose of it once the event is finished. Of course, if they’ve also hired a light stand to stand their sculpture on, whatever the size, then someone will be back at the end of the event to pick it up and will also take the sculpture with them.
If you were an ice sculpture what would you be?
Tricky one that. I think I’d like to be something ‘frozen in’ so I can at least be released from the ice when it melts. Not sure I could cope with melting away slowly and then completely disappearing!
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To get more ideas or help with your event talk to the team on 020 7610 2808 or email email@example.com