Whose House? Thom’s House.

Luis Cardona

Stepping into Thom Fougere’s living room is akin to entering a thoughtfully curated, yet comfortable gallery space.

After graduating from the faculty of architecture at the University of Manitoba, the 27-year-old wünderkind promptly began working as a designer for Winnipeg-based furniture outlet EQ3. Four years later and Fougere now operates as creative director for the company.

“I’m doing exactly what I want to do and I get to do a lot of it,” Fougere says with a slight smile. “I have a lot of jobs so I get a taste of everything that I like to do.”

Fougere’s stacked resumé includes teaching at his alma matter, directing photo shoots, a bit of graphic design, curating shows with the Winnipeg Design Festival and designing architectural products and spaces for both EQ3 as well as independently.

“Objects are a big thing for me. Objects are my business and my line of work,” Fougere says. “I think that architecture, objects and furniture are closely related. I feel that furniture is architecture on another scale and a mug is design-like architecture on a smaller scale, so I really covet small things.”

This admiration for small objects is made apparent by the small models, or maquettes, which are elegantly scattered throughout the Crescentwood-area apartment he shares with his girlfriend.

“I started making maquettes while in architecture school, these dainty white paper models, and I just kept on making them,” Fougere says of the designs in progress. “I have to surround myself with them before I let them out, to see if they work.

“I get to travel with work and I collect things along the way,” he continues. “My girlfriend also gets to travel quite a bit and she knows that I like weird little things so she brings them back for me as well. I think it’s a really human thing to collect, I think that humans are naturally collectors. To what degree it varies but yes, I think we’re gatherers. It sounds shallow but I think objects do have meaning to us, they exude meaning.”

1) Crescent bottle opener

“This is my newest acquisition, it’s a bottle opener made by Japanese craftsman Ojiman Sori. It’s from my friend’s shop in Toronto.”

2) Tyndall Table designed by Fougere himself

“The goal was to make it appear to be floating.”

3) Kenneth Lavallee painting

“My friend Ken made this for me and I’ve never seen him do anything like it before. It’s a Lavallee original!”

4) Hudson’s Bay Print

“I got this moose print from the basement of the Bay. They were selling it when they were clearing out the basement to make room for Zellers.”

5) Raw wood

“I came upon this while chopping wood out at a friend’s cabin. The axe wouldn’t go through this knot in the wood and I liked it. It’s mechanized nature in how it’s created this weird joint.”

6) Butter knife from Finland

“I don’t know why I have this but I like it. It’s an early acquisition and it started everything.”

Published in Volume 69, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 22, 2014)

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