These guys aren't your average shop rats. The metal heads at Breakform Design are trained architects with the brains of engineers and the hands of expert artisans, who can figure out how to build anything in steel, bronze, brass or aluminum. Less a go-to shop for metalwork and more a collaborative workshop, Breakform allows other designers to realize the more technical aspects of a metal element in their projects — usually the ones that require super meticulous detailing and care. Breakform make custom furniture, shelving (such as the floor-to-ceiling wine racks at Tar & Roses restaurant in Santa Monica), sun screens, stair details, wall-sized synthesizer racks, oversized mechanized doors and windows, and decorative surfaces such as the eye-popping, perforated brass wall that will adorn a multimillion-dollar beachfront home in Malibu. Word-of-mouth and simple come-back business have kept Breakform very busy (it had to move to a larger shop this year). Their craft simply isn't matched anywhere else in the L.A. area. —Wendy Gilmartin
109 Eucalyptus Drive, El Segundo. (310) 322-3700, breakformdesign.com.