Thom Fougere; photo courtesy of Design Milk
zeeBigBang spoke with Fougere at a preview of the new EQ3 flagship store in Liberty Village, Toronto. Here’s what he had to say about his design inspirations, what it’s like to work with EQ3 and what makes this new flagship store so special.
Fougere says Winnipeg, Manitoba was a huge influence on his work. He began his career there studying architecture at the University of Manitoba and then later, focusing his work on furniture design.
Tyndall Table made with Manitoba tyndall stone and steel. Photo courtesy of Thom Fougere.
"It’s extremely interesting because it [Winnipeg] is a smaller city and there’s not as much culture to consume like there is in Toronto or New York City; so people make their own culture. Nobody is scared of being original; whereas in more metropolitan cities, everybody knows what’s best and they kind of gear towards that. In Winnipeg, everybody is just doing their own thing and it’s amazing," said Fougere.
Fougere says he designs for ‘two worlds,’ the first one being his work for EQ3 and the second being his own independent designs.
Thom Fougere’s two worlds. (Left) Fougere working with photographer, Véronique Hoegger, on the EQ3 catalog. (Right) Fougere’s original design, the Bench Rack, made of powder coated steel tube and solid Manitoba elm. Photos courtesy of Thom Fougere.
"EQ3 is related closer to a fashion brand than it would be to a proper design house. We have to appeal to a customer base, we have to appeal to trends at the time; whereas the designs that I do for myself are very selfish. I design what I want, what I need and if I need a nightstand, I’ll make and design myself the best nightstand I can think of. That’s all it is, it’s very selfish, and that’s kind of what drives my own designs," said Fougere.
When asked what Fougere enjoys most about working as a Creative Director for the national furniture company, EQ3, he said,
"It exercises everything that I can possibly do. I art directed the entire [EQ3] catalog, the photography, I got to collaborate with an amazing photographer from Switzerland, Véronique Hoegger. I love doing that, styling, graphic design, the catalog itself, furniture layout, furniture design, which is obviously my specialty, architecture. Basically all facets that I can contribute to I do, so it’s wonderful."
Inside the EQ3 flagship store. (Photo courtesy of Irina Grozavescu)
Variety of colours for fabrics and pillows at EQ3. (Photo courtesy of Irina Grozavescu)
The 9000-square-foot flagship store is located in the Hanna Avenue building in Liberty Village, a neighborhood landmark from the early 1900s, which was originally an old boiler room. EQ3’s furniture is highly functional and ideal for small spaces, so it made sense for CEO, Peter Tielmann to choose Liberty Village, the epicenter for Toronto’s condo boom.
We asked Fougere what makes this flagship store so unique from the other EQ3 locations.
"What’s new is the approach to the architecture, the presentation of our product within our fixtures and I played an integral part in how we laid out our showrooms. Typically in our showrooms, we lay out our floor plans on a 90 degree grid, a repetitive grid and for this store, we tested out an option where we basically overlaid a 45 degree grid over a 90 degree grid and we have them colliding down the middle," he explained.
Modern living room lay out at EQ3. (Photo courtesy of Irina Grozavescu)
"The result is a very nice flowing atmosphere where you can meander and get lost in a good way. It gives nice vistas throughout the entire store. That’s one way I think placement of furniture integrates seamlessly with architecture. Everything at EQ3 was typically at 90 degree angles, it was a rule; so basically it’s like breaking the rules. To create new you have to destroy something," continued Fougere.
EQ3’s new store will open its doors to the public this Saturday, September 1, 2012.
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