In the past years artificially-structured materials have been grown with an increasing degree of sophistication due to steady progress in our ability to control growth processes down to the atomic level. These materials have yielded new physical properties due to the confinement of electrons in less than three dimensions. Thus, the confinement of electrons in two-dimensional (2D) metallic superlattices has resulted in oscillatory magnetic coupling with an associated oscillatory giant magnetoresistance (GMR). New properties are expected when the electrons are further confined to one dimension (1D) of free motion in the structures known as quantum wires. In this report we briefly describe two recent examples of atomic-scale engineering of materials. In the first case a surfactant is used to purposely modify the structure of magnetic/non magnetic superlattices. The second example illustrates a further reduction in dimensionality obtained by modifying the substrate onto which the growth takes place: the fabrication of 1D magnetic quantum wires on vicinal surfaces.