October 13, 2014
by Canadian Architect
Fogo Island Inn and the Fogo Island Shop in Newfoundland have partnered with KLAUS by Nienkämper, Canada’s longest-running design showroom to bring international distribution to the distinctive line of furniture and accessories of Fogo Island Inn. To mark this debut, 70 pieces from the collection are on show at KLAUS’s downtown Toronto showroom at 300 King Street East, from October 14-28, 2014. The Fogo Island Inn collection will be permanently available, both in the store and online.
Fogo Island Inn, designed by architect Todd Saunders (see CA, November 2013) has received multiple prestigious international design and tourism awards since opening in June 2013. Its interior furnishings and accessories—everything from side tables to dining chairs to sconces and hangers—were custom designed by internationally lauded designers from Canada and Europe. The designers travelled to Fogo Island between 2011 and 2013 to immerse themselves in the island’s unique culture and to familiarize themselves with its traditional culture, motifs, materials and craftsmanship. They worked closely with skilled local artisans to create contemporary pieces that draw on familiar handmade forms.
Until now, these pieces were only available to visitors to Fogo Island. In establishing a retail partnership with KLAUS, Fogo Island Shop will now be able to meet wider demand for these handmade items. This demand has been fuelled in part by guests’ firsthand experience of the beautiful objects in the suites and public spaces at the Fogo Island Inn, and in part by international media coverage about the Inn.
Highlights of the Fogo Island Shop collection at KLAUS include the following. Get-Your-Feet-Up by by Ineke Hans of The Netherlands is a settee-like piece featuring split wooden spindles, with seating angled for comfort. From the same family, the Long Bench by Ineke Hans of The Netherlands offers a simpler flat seat and arms wide enough to accommodate a mug of coffee or a glass of wine. Designed by Donna Wilson of England, Bertha is an exposed plank armchair with wool cushions that evokes the warmth of the Island’s wooden boats and home interiors. Created from a single piece of wood board, the Puppy is an ingenious side table designed by Fogo Island native Nick Herder. The pattern cutout from one of the cast-off sides serves as a leg on the other. The Puppy is also available as a bench. Drawing inspiration from a small fishing boat known as a punt and drawing on traditional boat-building techniques of Fogo Island, the Punt Chair by Quebec’s Elaine Fortin is made from naturally curved wood, harvested from the base of tamarack trees (locally known as juniper). Beautifully simple, the Snake Cushion by Fogo Island’s The Guild is handmade from the tiniest scraps of yarn. It brings comfort and a splash of colour to any chair.
Fogo Island Inn is operated by a trust whose beneficiary is the Shorefast Foundation, a federally registered charity of Canada. The mandate of Shorefast is the cultural and economic well-being of the local community.
The furniture and accessories are made on Fogo Island and sales contribute to the Shorefast Foundation’s social-enterprise business model. Surpluses from both the Inn and The Fogo Island Shop will be reinvested by the Foundation back into Fogo Island and Change Islands, supporting the well-being of one of Canada’s oldest rural communities.
Zita Cobb, President of Shorefast Foundation and founding innkeeper, says: “We built the Inn in the same way that a bird would lovingly build its nest with the greatest care for every piece of straw. In our furniture and quilts, you can feel the presence of the people who made them, the influence of their ancestors, and the vision of our designers.”
“These unique pieces have all the hallmarks of truly contemporary heritage pieces,” says Klaus Nienkämper. “What attracted me to this collection was the concept of these skilled craftsmen, essentially boat builders, expertly crafting furniture from their native materials. It’s exciting to be able to bring this furniture folklore to life and to the presence of our design world.”
Fogo Island Inn sits on an island, off an island, off one of the four corners of the earth. The Inn’s foundations are the principles of sustainability and respect for nature and culture. Each of its 29 one-of-a-kind guest suites has dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto the wildest and most powerful oceans on the planet. Guests can watch the waves break on the rocks, less than 100 feet away from their beds. Most suites have a wood-burning fireplace stove and all are furnished with quiet luxuries, furniture and quilts, handmade on the Island.
For more information on Fogo Island Inn, please visit www.fogoislandinn.ca.
fogo island room with a bench and a view. photo by alex fradkin.