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Furniture Design: Misewell

Growing up in southeastern Wisconsin, Vincent and Paul Georgeson used to hang out in their father’s basement woodshop, fascinated by the process of building things. It was a formative experience: Both brothers went on to study industrial design in college, and in 2008 they started a Milwaukee-based furniture company. The next year they unveiled their first eight products at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York, including the Lockwood chair, a shaped walnut or maple seat on a formed steel frame. They named the brand Misewell, a nod to Midwestern slang for “might as well”—–as in, “misewell start a furniture company,” says Paul, laughing.

 

Brothers Paul and Vincent Georgeson in their studio, surrounded by their own designs (and dog Penny).

Their process for expanding their nascent line of furniture is unconventional: They take a look around their respective homes and tally what they need. Last year, in the lead-up to ICFF, Paul realized he could use a coatrack: “I couldn’t find anything good, so we designed one ourselves.” Four months later, Stretch, a handcrafted walnut tripod with pinwheel joinery, was born.

Here's their handsome Stretch coat rack, next to the metal-and-walnut Lockwood chair.

Their main goal is to create furniture that will last for decades, both physically and aesthetically. They work with solid, timeless materials like wood, steel, and aluminum and manufacture their furniture at factories throughout the Midwest, which were more willing than usual to take on small production runs in the midst of the economic downturn. “We’re not trying to follow any trends or do anything ostentatious,” says Paul. “We want our pieces to look great in 30 years rather than turning into hideous eyesores. We want our customers to pass this stuff on to their grandkids.”

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    Branching out and doing your own thing is a brave and bold move at any time and any age. That said, the 21 visionaries we profile here—–designers 
of interiors, graphics, architecture, exhibitions, furniture, landscapes, 
and communities both online and off—–are all younger than 40 and are building their careers in the United States during an economic recession. Their mediums range wildly, from high-end residential town houses 
to urban postindustrial landscapes, but what they all share are uncommon tenacity and highly personal approaches to blazing their own paths. We’ve found editors who reinvented themselves as unconventional bloggers when their magazine shuttered; community activists who are transforming foreclosed houses in Detroit into models of environmental sustainability; and designers who’ve built burgeoning furniture companies in their own backyards. Neither an exhaustive compendium nor an exclusive best-of list, this roundup is a sampling of rising stars whose work continues to catch our eyes and imaginations.

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Comments

where in WI did you grow up? Milwaukee?

We grew up in Racine just south of milwaukee.

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