A Rollicking New Collection Inspired by Lollipops, Wine, and Pancakes for Dinner
Growing up in Australia, Jack and Mark Fearon’s father was a boilermaker. Mark followed in his footsteps while Jack became a plumber. But a vein of creativity was there from the beginning, with Jack opening an art gallery at one point and the brothers often fabricating furniture for trade shows, and Brothers Fearon Fabrication was born in 2019. Today, in their warehouse-workshop on Australia’s Gold Coast, they produce contemporary furniture from industrial materials like aluminum in bright, fresh colors.
Usually, says Jack, he comes up with designs that he would like for his own home, like their first collection: a series of thick-legged side tables and stools whose silhouettes resembled the hip crease of a human body. But the studio’s latest collection came from Jack imagining what his four-month-old daughter would think is cool. “I thought there was a real lack of fun in kids furniture,” he says. “I often think of Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark,” and there’s a definite hint of Iron Man in his firetruck-red Mine chair.The pink-and-green Socks and Undies dresser was designed especially with children in mind, with irregular handles inspired by candy. “My daughter is at the age where she’s putting everything into her mouth,” says Jack. “That got me thinking about lollipops, and I thought those handles looked like lollies.”
If that’s not cute enough, wait until you hear about Pancakes for Dinner, their whimsical 10-seater dining table. “The name for the table came about because when my wife was pregnant we were having pancakes for dinner a lot,” Jack says. “Once we had finished the table, that’s all I could think about when I’d looked at it.” The table top has wide scalloped edges while the sculptural base consists of cloud-like shapes in different colors, plasma-cut from 6mm aluminum sheet and bolted together. The different layers add depth that would’ve been lost if the design was only painted on. The shapes are repeated on the sides and legs of the plush armchair called Bubbly Bottom.
Color has always been a big part of what sets Brothers Fearon Fabrication apart. “I just like color,” Jack says. “It’s fun, but people are a bit scared to use it sometimes.” When he’s feeling low, he thinks of what colors would brighten his mood and he takes it from there. The BFF design process is also fairly intuitive. “My brother and I understand each other pretty well and have been working together for a long time so we mostly use hand gestures and rattle off measurements to one another and then just start making,” Jack says.
The brothers have introduced a rippled effect to the aluminum throughout their new pieces which creates dimples of light and shadow. Not only visually effective, it adds a lot of strength to the thinner aluminum sheets they use. “We thought it would be cool to make a lightweight chair that you could pick up with the pinch of two fingers that was still really bloody strong,” Jack says. ’Two Fingers’ is the name of the first chair they made in this way. The color of an Australian Shiraz, the chair is also known more casually as the wine chair.
The ripple is also an attempt to add warmth to a material as cold and sleek as aluminum, in the same way that hand-built ceramics exude a human touch. Jack and Mark have a hand in every step of the process, both designing and manufacturing each piece. It means they don’t have to explain what they want to achieve to anybody else and keeping things streamlined keeps costs down for customers.
It also means they spend a lot of time bashing things. “We firstly anneal the aluminum sheet and then go to town on it with mallets on top of beating bags,” Jack explains. And what does he think about while pummeling metal? “Not a lot,” he laughs. “I use it as a time where I try to not think.”