Labor of Love 1

Fin Art Co visualizes the beauty in something that was once discarded

Stoic & Genuine, Infinite Monkey, Lon Little Shop, Finkel & Garf – I’m actually not just listing off your favorite shops and restaurants in Denver and Boulder. This list contains places around town where you have unknowingly admired the work of Denver-based furniture makers/designers from Fin Art Co. And that was just the tip of the list.

Owners and longtime friends, Rob McGowan and Ben Olson have only been building furniture for eight years now and officially launched Fin Art Co in 2009. How did they hone such a craft? You know that old saying learn from your mistakes. Turns out it’s true. According to McGowan and Olson they have made every mistake in the book in order to learn how to make handmade modern furniture.

“We’ve always come up with cool ideas that usually challenge our skill set, so we’ve had to figure out how to create our crazy ideas. Each project we take on pushes us to learn new skills,” says McGowan.

Their work has a very distinctive look that incorporates a mix of old and new. Mid-century modern designs integrate with reclaimed salvaged materials from the past, such as wood from trains and bridges, retired farm hardware and even abandoned airplane wings.

“Our favorite is probably airplane parts, even though they are hard to find and quite difficult to work with, they turn out so damn beautiful,” says Olson.

An unexpected benefit of appreciating reclaimed materials is that Fin Art Co has sustainability built into the business. Taking discarded, recycled materials and turning them into pieces of functional modern art with a new purpose.

“The thought process started by finding something really cool and figuring out how to use it as a piece of furniture. With reclaimed pieces, they have their own inspiration built into them,” says McGowan.

Fin Art Co continues to grow and other fellow furniture craftsmen now join McGowan and Olson. They are redesigning local shops and homes one place at a time with pieces of furniture that mesmerize the eyes with clean lines and contrasting elements.

“The idea of handmade furniture in an age of factory-made furniture appeals to us because every piece we make gets touched hundreds of time throughout the creation process, which brings a certain life to a piece that factories can never create,” says Olson.