Azmi Soylu’s designs in wrought iron withstand the test of time

The art of working iron is an ancient skill practiced with passion by Azmi Soylu who, along with his wife, Darya, owns Gentry Custom Furniture. Gentry is the premier designer and manufacturer of European-style wrought iron furniture and décor for the home and garden—items that withstand the test of time. Ideal for the San Diego lifestyle, each piece in their collection is as sturdy as it is beautiful. We’ve asked Azmi to tell us more.

About getting started: I worked in my family’s mining business in Europe until 1999, when I moved to Atlanta to pursue my passion for furniture design. I learned a lot about the American market from furniture buyers and began manufacturing products in my own factory in Bulgaria. These products were very well received, and the following year, I was able offer the first collection of Gentry Custom Furniture products at the International Home Furniture Show, the world’s largest furnishings industry trade show, in High Point, North Carolina. Through a series of big trade shows, we were picked up by many retailers nationwide, including small boutique stores, chain stores, upscale catalog companies, and web retailers.

About his designs: I spent time in San Diego while studying at UCSD and I was inspired by this lifestyle. I moved here with my family because I love living at the beach and waking up with the ocean breeze, spending almost all my time outside, browsing La Jolla, and going to my favorite outdoor café. Now, my family loves this lifestyle, too! Many of my designs take inspiration from coastal Europe, where living outdoors is the way of life. I’ve designed every item to be transitional and usable both indoors and outdoors. During the year, I work side-by-side with blacksmiths at the blacksmith table, next to the hot forge to bring my ideas to life. I also work with individual clients on custom designs.

The Soylu family
The Soylu family

About his passion for wrought iron: I love working with this medium. I make great art for a great price and it’s exciting to know it will outlive me. It is the best legacy, because it is ancient art. All items in the Gentry collection are finished with durable base paint suitable for all weather. The accents of bronze, gold, silver, and 16 other modern finishes are added as a third coat. They require very little maintenance, cannot be blown away by the wind, and will last for generations.

About family: Family is very important to me. My wife, Darya, is my partner in all things, and we have two sons, William and Arman, and a daughter, Erin. They are one of the biggest reasons we moved to La Jolla. We want them to get a good education and grow up with Californian culture. Also, our children love the ocean and beach. They’re showing their appreciation for their father and mother by studying hard and bringing awards home from school. We are all incredibly happy to be here.

About the La Jolla showroom: Until now, we were not working directly with consumers. Only designers could purchase our products, which had to be shipped from the East Coast. Our showroom provides furniture samples as well as custom architectural iron, interior doors, and balconies. Some items can be purchased from display, otherwise everything is available to order. We also welcome custom designs, whether you know exactly what you want or need ideas.