Ice sculpting a hot trend
DAVID Antonacci's ice sculpting business is piping hot, so much so that he's had to enlist the help of his mum and girlfriend to keep up with orders.
His Angel Ice Sculptures venture has barely been going six months out of a Redcliffe home basement, but already he is fielding about three orders per weekend from the Gold Coast, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
He makes everything from kissing swans, clam shells, horse's heads and fruit bowls, to giant martini glasses, butterflies, guitars and even the Eiffel Tower.
His most popular requests are for whole drink bars made of ice and "bocca luges", an ice slide that partygoers can pour shots of alcohol down.
His special ice machine takes three days to freeze ordinary tap water and the sculptures can last up to six hours.
"I wrap them in a thermo-blanket and I can drive up to two hours without them melting," he said.
"And while it might take three-and-a-half days to make the ice, it only takes between half an hour to an hour to make the carving.
"I do it really quickly and put it straight back in the freezer.
"I've got tracing paper that I cut around with the chainsaw, I do some by hand, and for others I have templates and moulds.
"I can freeze flowers in them or colour the ice to match a wedding or party theme."
And he has Google to thank for his early success.
"I built a beautiful website and I'm on the top of Google AdWords if people search for "ice sculptures at wedding" or "something cool for wedding".
"That's where I think all the work is coming from."
Mr Antonacci's main customers are hotels, nightclubs, beverage companies running promotions and private parties.
He has rubbed shoulders with everyone from Mercedes Benz and Versace reps to owners of luxury boats and penthouses.
"The coolest party was a beautiful penthouse apartment which had a bunch of luges and an ice bar on the tennis court on the roof.
"It was a massive party and normally I just deliver the sculptures and leave, but they wanted me to stay.
"I have had some weird requests like a whole bar made out of big lips.
"But they all just add a memorable wow factor to any event."
Mr Antonacci has a background in food, having owned pizza shops.
With business booming, he is now considering renting a depot on the Gold Coast for more freezer and storage space.