unassuming metal building on the outskirts of
Akron may not conjure up images of futuristic
supercars, but don’t the best stories of American
innovation somehow always start in a garage?
38 SHAKERONLINE.COM | SUMMER 2017
This particular garage houses one of the world’s
most advanced 3D printers. It’s so big that it can print
the body of a car – in this case, a supercar designed by
Shaker Heights resident Carlos Salaff.
After a decade working on futuristic concepts
and every-day vehicles for Mazda in California, Carlos
relocated in 2013 to Shaker Heights with his wife Jennifer and two young children.
But it wasn’t the 3D printer that brought him here; it was the suggestion of his
parents who have been Shaker Heights residents for over two decades.
Creativity runs deep through the Salaff family, encouraged by Carlos’ grandfather,
an engineer with a deep appreciation for the arts. His uncle is a metal sculptor and
his aunt was Vera Neumann, known for her colorful textiles that hung in the Truman
White House and scarves worn by the likes of Marilyn Monroe. His father, Peter, is
director of String Chamber Music Studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music and was a
founding member of the Grammy-award winning Cleveland Quartet.
Carlos grew up in Rochester, New York, where his father taught at the Eastman
School of Music. While it was not immediately clear how his own creativity would
manifest itself, he knew that he was drawn to fast vehicles – rockets, airplanes,
Formula 1 racecars – and the excitement of air travel with his family.
“As an elementary school kid I had
the good fortune of traveling a lot with
my father, a perk of his musical career,”
he says. “We often flew over the Colorado
Rockies in a Convair 580, headed to the
Aspen music festival. I always asked
to get a window seat overlooking the
engines, so I could look at the turboprop
engines – especially the propellers.”
Carlos built models of that plane
every summer for several years. “I
found the details of the machine itself
absolutely beautiful. The louvers, the
shape of the engine fairings, the propeller
blades, the nose cones. In flight, that
plane was so loud and violent that you
could barely hear yourself speak. It
rumbled and rattled. But it was so alive!
That plane was the pinnacle of analog,
mechanical. The cockpit was full of dials,
knobs, and levers.
I get similar goosebumps peering
into the cockpits of 1960s-era Formula
1 cars. Analog gauges, toggle switches,
manual shifter. Total connection
between pilot and machine. That raw,
visceral excitement combined with the
artistry of the machine inspires the art I
strive to create.”