Outport Aesthetics: The meeting of minds that led to the design of the Fogo Island Inn
By Greg White
Back in late November of 2009 the Shorefast Foundation and the Arts Corporation held a Charrette here on Fogo Island where invited guests and people from the Island combined their previous hotel experiences with their emotions and imaginations to explore the designs of the Fogo Island Inn. Today the participants and members of the community will come together at the Barr'd Islands church to work on similar group exercises centered around the design, interiors and textures of the Fogo Island Inn.
Charrette: The word charrette may refer to any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem. While the structure of a charrette varies, depending on the design problem and the individuals in the group, charrettes often take place in multiple sessions in which the group divides into sub-groups. Each sub-group then presents its work to the full group as material for future dialogue. Such charrettes serve as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people.
The crowd was divided into five groups with about seven people in each group. They discussed the following things: Path, Entrance and Lobby of the Inn, write the narrative of exploring one of the guest rooms, Washrooms, Functional spaces and Storage.
Participants took advantage of renderings, architectural plans and a plethora of local items (old windows, boards, fishing gear, crab pots, hooked rugs, quilts ... the list goes on) brought in to inspire everyone.
At the end of each session one member from each of the seven groups present the findings. The information gathered will be used in combination with the local materials and discoveries from the excursions to aid in the rest of the workshop experiments.
Exploring the aesthetics of Outport interiors is an experimental art/design project and workshop designed to develop the ideas for contemporary furniture and interiors inspired by traditional Outport living conditions and reality.
The workshop will gather experts, creative thinkers and hands-on producers on Fogo Island to explore the essence of Outport interiors and hopefully translate ideas and findings into useful proposals for an upcoming furniture design competition. The competition is planned to follow the workshop in the spring with the intention of recruiting creators of locally rooted designs adapted to the various Shorefast projects on Fogo Island and Change Islands.
The Shorefast Foundation has various building projects underway: traditional houses and churches are being renovated and adapted to new use, several artists' studios are being designed and constructed along with a small five star Inn. All furniture and interiors for the new studios and the Inn are to be produced locally.
Participants will be asked to work on the given tasks individually and in groups. Local craftspeople and external experts will be engaged throughout the process. Formal input will be given regularly every fourth day.
Dagur Oskarsson – designer (Reykjavik)
Elaine Fortin – designer (Montreal)
Elisabeth Belliveau - textile artist (Montreal)
Eric Demay – designer (Montreal)
Gudbjorg Jakobsdottir - fashion designer (Reykjavik)
Hafsteinn Juliusson - industrial designer (Milano)
Jeff Baggs – cabinetmaker (St. John’s)
Jessica Waterman - artist (St. John’s)
Jonathan J Mandeville – architect (Halifax)
Justin Armstrong – anthropologist & composer (Wellesley MA)
Kym Greeley - artist (St. John’s)
Martine Myrup – artist (Glasgow)
Michael Pittman – artist (Grand Falls-Windsor NL)
Yvonne Mullock – artist (Glasgow)
& 10-14 local craftspeople on Fogo Island & Change Islands (wood, textile)
Walter W Peddle - writer & expert on Outport furniture
Mike Paterson - cabinet maker
Frank Tjepkema – designer
Lars & Jason Dressler – furniture producers
Joseph Grima - director Storefront for Art and Architecture
Neil Minuk – architect and professor
Todd Saunders – architect for the Shorefast projects
Sami Rintala - architect
Jerry Dick - director of heritage – NL Department of Tourism, Culture & Recreation
Steve Topping – artist and tenant of a St. John’s Battery stage
Pall Einarsson – industrial designer