Our story was born in Chicago, at the intersection of Lake and Wells. This intersection would become our first studio and home as well as a defining theme - intersecting - in our partner ship in life and in work. Indeed, the storied pieces of Lake + Wells are forged from our own harmonious dichotomy as husband-and-wife founders. We explore this tension of balancing forces as the matter of meaningful narrative - male and female, light and dark, self and other - while we work to translate intangible stories into tangible stories into tangible object, remnants of a future past.
We seek to discerningly capture a pivotal moment, prerequisite to any meaningful story, and transform it into a physical artifact (indeed, a fragment of prose accompanies every article in our collection, bearing witness from the imagined tale of origin).
Our process of conversion from ethereal to corporeal is iterative and collaborative, requiring that precise equilibrium between our own polarities. In him, we find technical artistry, engineering, and functionality resound, where in her, we see form, story, and a dark whimsical vision prevail.
This theme of contrasts continues as we marry age-old living materials and hand-crafted methodologies with modern elements and technology. Before any element of a piece materializes, it undergoes painstaking development in partnership with our artisans, hand-picked for their technical mastery. Every resulting article we make is human-touched and one-of-a kind, marked, hand-assembled, and made-to-order - an intersection of precision and imperfection.
With each final totem, we desire to bring forth the meaningful matter of stories into our world - a collection of evocative, timeless forms for fellow dreamers as we collectively create and curate the spaces and realities around us all.
Mark Kinsley + Tamera Leigh Staten
The objects of Lake + Wells are both artifacts of stories and evidence of polarities in husband-and-wife founders, Mark Kinsley and Tamera Leigh Staten. Founded in 2010 by Mark, son of a Midwest tool-and-die maker, Lake + Wells was premised on working with master artisans to create timeless and innovative products. After working for tech and industrial design firms, where Mark was able to design products for clients like Apple, Mark was now in the midst of growing this new company and daylighting as a lighting designer for luxury brand, Holly Hunt, when he met Tamera Leigh Staten. She had just returned from England, completing her graduate studies in children’s literature, after undergraduate studies in writing and fine art, and was working as a graphic designer and an apprentice in antique lighting restoration. This poetic meeting of likeminded opposites (one creating new and the other restoring old) sparked what turned into a marriage of both life and work as they discovered their creativity expanded exponentially in collaboration with one another. Mark's technical artistry, engineering skills, and focus on functionality pairs uniquely with the dark, creative whimsy of Tamera’s visual storytelling and focus on form.