Erin Law and Paris Hynes met each other around a socially distant campfire in the early days of quarantine. The pair spent a month drawing furniture and dreaming up their collaboration during a Covid sojourn to Florida. Upon return to Brooklyn, they were eager to get building. They started making furniture in the Bed-Stuy woodshop that Hynes has been patchworking together for the last few years. So the Fernweh studio was born.
The Fernweh, German for wanderlust, lets the wood do the talking. The work calls to mind a misty stroll through a long forgotten forest, with live edges and rough hewn curves making prominent appearances.
At one point during our conversation, Hynes enthusiastically pulls out a piece of spalted maple. Both Hynes and Law are drawn to the complex lines that forest fungi have drawn throughout the wood. Working with such a visually dynamic material, they understand the need to not have their own designs overpower what is naturally present, but enhance it.
N.B. Visit the Fernweh on Instagram for purchasing information.
One of the most striking works is The Wet Earth Treasure Box, pictured above. The boxy bookshelf form is interrupted by an amorphous sprig of spalted maple, showcasing one of the duo’s favorite materials. The piece, towing a delicate line between sculpture and furniture, seems to encapsulate the spirit of the project. It was inspired by a piece of driftwood, an oft used source material for Law’s work in sculpture.
Hynes and Law share a background in visual art, Hynes an oil painter and Law a sculptor. Hynes says, “I got into woodworking through necessity. I wanted to make my own frames and I wanted to make my own bookshelves.” Meanwhile, Law was making large sculptures, but, as she says they had “no structural integrity.” The fusion of their skills and perspectives results in useful pieces that are unbound by the strictures of traditional furniture.
This instinct for form, color and proportion is poured into The Fernweh’s furniture and objects. Check out some of their recent works:
For more artful furniture design, see: