There’s nothing better than roasting marshmallows on the fire, warming up while camping out, and enjoying the company of friends and family. Paul Jewiss, co-founder of Fire-Away, tells us how everyone can enjoy toasty comfort with their innovative fire pits.
Procrastinating in their home garage paid off for young students Daniel and Paul Jewiss. The Sydney brothers came up with the idea of a uniquely-designed steel fire pit, which has since made them the proud co-founders of Fire-Away.
The architectural graduate of the two brothers gave us an exclusive insight to what has led them to the three successful designs that are now on the market. Paul Jewiss talks inspiration, production and the best way to enjoy the flame!
Fire-Away has an unusual backstory. Could you tell us how the idea of your fire pits came about?
Fire-Away was born in our Sydney garage in 2014. My brother, Daniel, and I were procrastinating from the HSC and uni assignments respectively and had an idea to create a fire pit out of sheet steel.
I approached the design with three identical pieces that we angled and rotated so that each would cantilever to support the next.
We made a prototype out of cardboard to test the shape before Dan cut the first from steel by hand! It was at this point we realised we had created something quite unique that actually worked.
What makes Fire-Away’s designs unique amongst others on the market?
Our fire pits are made up of three identical pieces of sheet steel, alluding to the three elements of fire; fuel, heat and oxygen.
Each piece is angled and rotated around an axis interlocking one by one to support each other, creating a triangular, sculptural form resembling that of an inverted fire stack.
They are completely flat-pack and allow people with smaller outdoor areas to enjoy an open fire without compromising on living space.
Fire-Away fire pits are proudly manufactured in Australia. Could you tell us more about the production process?
From the very outset, we knew we wanted to make good quality, Australian products. Therefore all our decisions revolved around how to achieve this.
For example, using thicker gauge Australian steel significantly increases the weight and cost of our pits, however, it notably improves the longevity of the product as well as providing more mass and density to evenly radiate heat when burning.
It is so important for us to be able to justify each decision of the design process and manufacturing in Australia with local materials is certainly something we are proud of.
Aside from being ultra-practical, what’s the inspiration behind the slim, modern style of the fire pits?
The inspiration behind the pits is really industrial minimalism. I was particularly interested in how sheet steel can be employed and showcased as a design element.
I have a design philosophy that any new product needs to be different and better, and the use of three simple pieces assembled to sculpturally frame a fire really appealed to us and evidently to our customers.
Tell us a bit more about the naturally-rusted appeal the pits get over time. Why is it intended?
This is as much about process as it is practicality. Steel is the hero of our fire pits and, as such, we wanted to showcase steel for what it is, throughout its life.
Rusting is a natural process for steel and one that is different depending on location, climate and environment. Not dissimilar to the change of season, the raw patina of the rust comes in waves, developing a warmth and richness that champions the fire within it.
Could you give a quick guide on the difference between the three designs – Vulcan, Kindling, Original?
As the name suggests, the Original was our first product and was designed for suburban backyards and courtyards with a footprint of 0.6m2. It is a great size for general use but weighs in at a solid 38kg.
After a year of testing and a considerable number of enquiries, we pursued a smaller, lighter version; the Kindling. The smallest of our three fire pits, the Kindling is aimed at small terraces or open balconies and also lends itself to camping or holiday trips as it only weighs 19kg and has a smaller footprint of 0.3m2.
Last but certainly not least came the Vulcan, named after the Roman God of Fire. This is the largest Fire-Away and was designed to be a permanent feature in a landscaped garden or estate. Weighing in at 120kg, permanently welded in place and with a footprint of 1m2, it has a definite presence and is by far our favourite!
How is it working as a brother duo? What’s a typical business day together like?
Well, I imagine as every business owner will tell you, it can be tough! Especially as a small, relatively new business, we are still finding our feet and trying to figure out what to prioritise.
Working with Dan is great. He is super motivated and determined and keeps us on top of everything. The most important thing we have found, I think, is that you need clearly defined roles and constant communication.
We live in different cities so we speak on and off throughout the day most days of the week along with my wife, Lou, who came on board as a marketing director in 2015. We try and have a face-to-face once a month to evaluate how we are going and discuss what’s next on the agenda.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of how things are going so it’s important for us to take some time to catch up as brothers and not business partners.
The Fire-Away team: Daniel, Paul and Lou.
Fire pits are synonymous with roasting marshmallows on cold nights. What’s your favourite way of using your Fire-Away fire pit?
Five years ago we would have 100% agreed with that! But these days it’s all about the people we are sharing it with.
Whether we are at home, camping down the coast or visiting the in-laws on their cattle and cropping farm, we love sitting around the fire on a cold night with good company, great conversation and maybe a glass of red!