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.
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.
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.”