Barrango - A Story of Saints, Carousels & Christmas Decor
1906 – 1910
We found our passion creating beautiful Christmas decor over 100 years ago. While San Francisco began rebuilding after the 1906 earthquake, Salvatore Barrango and his family migrated from Italy to start a small business in South San Francisco. There they used their skills in sculpting, woodcarving and mold making to restore damaged statues of saints in Bay Area churches.
Next, Barrango added mannequins to their design repertoire creating figures with exceptional style and beauty for retail stores all over the Bay Area. During this time they introduced the use of fiberglass to create lightweight mannequins which were articulated so they could be “posed” for better merchandise display. In 1939, Barrango filed a patent for these articulated mannequins. And in 1960, Hollywood even took interest in Barrango’s mannequins featuring them on the classic TV Show, The Twilight Zone in the episode titled “The After Hours” starring Anne Francis.
In the late 1960’s a shift in conventional merchandising occurred when store window displays and mannequins became virtually extinct. The new trend favored giant, temperature-controlled shopping environments with ambient lighting, live plants, fountains and music carefully orchestrated to create an enticing atmosphere to generate sales. Barrango brought the perfect compliment by designing and building custom Christmas decor tailored to the location’s demographics and infrastructure. They produced larger than life eye catching pieces such as nutcrackers, toy soldiers, reindeer, sleighs and a myriad of iconic Christmas decoration – all well-built to withstand exposure to weather as well as indoor mall wear and tear.
During the 1970’s, Barrango expanded on their commitment in Christmas decor and invested in custom machinery. They manufactured their own brand of holiday trees, wreaths, garlands and door sprays avoiding having to source from lower quality foreign vendors. Barrango then pioneered the use of Manzanita, a wild shrub that grows in Northern California. When the strong and flexible branches are stripped and attached to wire frames, they can be teased into any shape imaginable, perfect for creating majestic reindeer and beautiful wintery landscapes.
As the company prospered, an ambitious new division devoted to the manufacturing of carousels was created – a major undertaking but also a labor of love for Barrango. They brought authenticity and finesse in building whimsical fiberglass animals reproduced from genuine antique originals and highly detailed crown panels, rounding boards and facades. These carousels are entirely custom, built at our facility in South San Francisco, CA and shipped all over the world!
2010 – Today
In 2010, Barrango brought innovation to high quality Christmas décor again. Gallo, Guatemala’s most famous and favored beer, wanted to significantly upgrade their presence at the annual “Festival Arbol Gallo” where Christmas trees are decorated and displayed throughout the country for the holiday. Gallo contacted Barrango who created a masterpiece 145 ft tall (57 feet in diameter at the base) Christmas Tree illuminated with 1.5 million lights featuring the latest generation LEDs. The lights are synced to computerized channels allowing them to “dance” with the music. Dubbed the world’s largest, the Gallo Christmas Tree reigns over Guatemala City each Christmas season which kicks off with a lighting ceremony attended by 80,000 and viewed on television by 1.75 million! (Click here for the video of this tree.)
Today the retail landscape has again taken a new direction. Enclosed malls have given way to open air “villages” with architecture often modeled after European style. Plazas with fountains, tree-lined walkways and abundant landscaping surround buildings that combine retail, residential, entertainment and recreation giving consumers their choice of stores and restaurants, combined with a more relaxing atmosphere that has become the regular meeting place for friends and family. Barrango continues to be well prepared with a full line of gorgeous décor including planters, urns, fencing and festive holiday pieces.
Now operated by the fourth generation of Barrangos and with over 100 years of experience in the industry, Barrango continues to produce the finest quality custom seasonal decor available while thinking forward to new technologies including pixel lighting, where virtually every light can be controlled separately, fully animated light show trees and so much more. Supported by a dedicated team of designers, artists, crafts people and engineers, Barrango is ready for the ever-changing trends of the future.
Barrango can create anything you can imagine!