EQ3′s Casegoods Product Developer Finds Inspiration in Transit

Apr 24, 2014

(0 comments)

Part of being an EQ3 product developer, means getting to visit interesting places throughout the year. And this is certainly true for Madi, EQ3′s Casegoods product developer. She regularly heads to the Eastern parts of the world for long stints in far off countries, and today, Madi’s sharing photographs from her most recent trip.

 

Unlike our Upholstery products, which are made in Canada, the majority of our casegoods collections are manufactured overseas. At EQ3, I work closely with a few amazing teams of people in China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Vietnam, and I have the opportunity to visit them often to review samples, develop our designs and hunt for new and exciting materials to use for our products.

 

During my travel, which is typically every six to eight weeks, I have the opportunity to experience many amazing places and cultures that inspire me, and motivate me in my work and life.

 

I have been to the edge of the North Korean – China border, to the central Java region of Indonesia all the way to Taipei, and have met the most amazing people and seen some equally amazing things along the way. Below are a few of my more memorable photos.

 

photo1-sized

Arial view of Southern China

 

The photo above is taken near Shenzhen China, a city that is part of the Pearl River Delta, and represents the general density of this area in China. The feeling of claustrophobia is un-avoidable when experiencing this area from a detached frame of reference. That being said, I promise that once you embrace the chaos and become accustom to the rhythm of this interesting place, one can draw a lot of inspiration from this country that is changing dramatically each day.

 

photo2-sized

Pink + Green Stone – Marble Supplier

 

Embracing chaos aside, sometimes I need a break from the speed and amount of people that surround me most days.

 

During such a break I turned a corner and stumbled upon the most magical of marble stones. Much like wood, the natural variations in marble create a condition that is completely original and beautiful in the way that not even true talent could create. A totally authentic example of finding beauty where you least expect it.

 

photo3-sizedInteresting wood – Oak supplier

 

As is reflected in our current product line, we’re all going crazy for natural woods, primarily Oak, Ash and Reclaimed teak. When we can, we work with suppliers who have their own sustainably harvested plantations. These suppliers are always fun to visit as I get to spend some time studying the interesting forms the logs have assumed. I love how these permanent deviations in form are meaningful representations of the life each tree has lived.

 

photo4-sized

Albasia Forest

 

Sometimes we spend time touring the forests themselves. Above is a photo of Albasia trees – the supermodels of the forest. These girls grow super tall and thin, and at a very rapid pace. Their wood is low-density, light and easy to work with.

 

photo5-sized

Curbside – Vietnam

 

A lot of my time is spent in transit. Transit creates in-between moments that, for me, were the moments I used to catch up on everything one needs to catch up on these days (email < instagram), but now are the moments where I fall in love with wherever I am, even just for a minute.

 

The Craft: Roasting Coffee with Other Brother Roasters

Apr 22, 2014

(0 comments)

Other Brother Roasters is a specialty coffee roasting company that operates out of Winkler, Manitoba (just a couple hours drive from our head office in Winnipeg). We first got wind of Other Brother through this post on Make Coffee’s Facebook Page. Their product packaging was what initially caught our eye, and after discovering they were local, we knew we had to learn more about them and the art of roasting coffee!

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters04

 

We met with four of the five members that make up Other Brother Roasters: Sam Plett, Erin Plett, Andy Wiebe and Rachel Wiebe. Jon Plett (Sam’s brother) is also a partner in the company, but currently lives out of province. As is turns out, roasting is in their blood. Sam and Jon’s grandfather roasted peanuts and sunflower seeds, and their father is the owner of Sunny Day Products, a Winkler-based company producing quality, freshly roasted almonds, flax seeds, peanut kernels and other confectionery products. Sam had his first taste of quality coffee in 2011, after Jon launched Jonny’s Java, a socially conscious coffee, tea and smoothie shop in Winkler. Sam’s interest in coffee grew naturally from his brother’s new business venture (hence the name Other Brother), and he began roasting his own coffee beans with a popcorn machine in his garage.

 

In 2012, they moved operations into a real manufacturing space, and Other Brother was born out of a desire to bring good tasting, ethically sourced and locally roasted coffee to the community. Other Brother sells their beans through wholesale to coffee shops such as Jonny’s Java in Winkler and Make Coffee in Winnipeg, as well as restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores. Other Brother also offers monthly or bi-monthly subscriptions to individual customers interested in having coffee delivered on a regular basis, right to their door.

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters18

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters09

 

 

The Art of Roasting Coffee

 

Every roast begins with raw (un-roasted) green beans. Other Brother brings a few samples of raw beans in at a time and all five members participate in a coffee tasting, also referred to as a Cupping. Each member brings their own palate and taste preferences to the tasting, particularly Andy Wiebe (partner at Other Brother and co-owner of Jonny’s Java) who is a Canadian Certified Barista Judge. Together, they form a well-rounded panel and decide as a group which coffee beans to bring in. All of the beans Other Brother roasts are purchased in-season, and have been freshly picked from farms where workers are fairly compensated for their labour.

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters28

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters06

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters17

From left to right: Other Brother Roasters members Rachel Wiebe, Andy Wiebe, Erin Plett, Sam Plett (missing from photo Jon Plett)

 

Once Other Brother has finalized their selection, the beans are thrown through the roaster where they will lose 20% of their weight and moisture, and change colour from green, to yellow, to brown. Beans are roasted until they hear the First Cracking, usually after about 10 minutes or so. The first crack sounds very similar to popping popcorn and produces light roast coffee beans. A light roast accentuates what the bean has to offer – it’s elevation, variety and Terroir. The latter term is used to describe products such as wine, chocolate and tea. Wikipedia defines Terroir as “…the special set of characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with plant genetics, express in agricultural products.”

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters07

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters13

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters25

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters15

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters16

 

Leaving the coffee beans to roast a few minutes longer will result in a medium roast. And, another few minutes of roasting will result in a dark roast. At either of these stages, Other Brother can develop what they call the Roast Profile. By adjusting how they add the heat and how long they roast the beans for, Other Brother can change the roast and affect the taste of the coffee their beans will produce.

 

Other Brother Roasters believes it is their job to take the green bean and make it taste the best that it can. If you’re using a quality bean, they say the finished taste should be clean, pleasant, and what the coffee offers. There should be no bad or lingering aftertaste!

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters20

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters26

 

EQ3-Blog-The-Craft-Other-Brother-Roasters29

 

Other Brother tweaks their roast a little each week, always striving to bring their customers the best cup of coffee they can.

 

Visit otherbrotherroasters.com to learn more about their coffee and to sign up for a coffee subscription! Also, check out the Other Brother Roasters Facebook Page, and follow @obroasters on Twitter and Instagram

 

Source:
1. Wikipedia.com, Definition of Terroir

Visual Inventory: Milan Furniture Fair

Apr 21, 2014

(0 comments)

EQ3’s Creative Director, Thom Fougere, is back to share culture recommendations and findings that are currently inspiring him. His Visual Inventory posts focus on a theme and how he’s seeing it used across different industries (ie. design, film, music, online, photography, etc.).

 

This month’s theme is:

0Title
Milan’s Salone del Mobile is the biggest annual furniture event in the world. This year’s fair was a good one. Agreeable weather allowed for convenient trips around the city to the various off-site shows and to outdoor get-togethers at various open air courtyards, cafes, and galleries. Below, I’ve selected a few highlights to share from this year’s show. It is by no means a definitive guide, but rather some selections and observations of the things I saw during my short stay.

 

1
I spent my first day at the Salone. Mattiazzi released a series of new chairs by the Bouroullecs amongst a few others.

 

2
One of my favourite Japanese architects, Sou Fujimoto, designed a beautiful reflective forest installation for the Cassina booth.

 

3
Vitra re-released a few archived designs by Alexander Girard. A lot of playful patterns and colours. The moon platter (shown in the background) and the triangular side tables were a few of my favourites.

 

4
Arper product seemed secondary to their well-designed and colourful booth.

 

5
Nanimarquina presented a nice new collection of rugs. This black and white patterned rug caught my eye. It’s vastly different from the selection of new designs they were showing at their booth this year.

 

6
Most of my time, as it is with most who visit Milan, was spent walking all over the city to the various off-site shows. On day two I met a friend at the tucked away Project B Gallery which ended up being one of my favourites. Max Lamb created an installation for Dzek of a new marmoreal architectural surface made of resin-cast terrazzo.

 

7
Right beside the Dzek installation, Faye Toogood exhibited her new curvilinear furniture set, Assemblage 4 collection, made mostly of raw fiberglass.

 

7a
A lot of the offsite venues give people the opportunity to venture away from the general public spaces of Milan, and into back alleys, courtyards, apartments, and tucked away showrooms that are often hard to access outside of the furniture fair. This is one courtyard that lead to the JP Home showroom that was quite striking.

 

8
Hay made their presence known this year at the show, presenting their new collection in collaboration with Sabastien Wrong: Wrong for Hay, a Mini Market with hundreds of small goods available to purchase, new pieces for the Hay product line, and a packed party on Wednesday night.

 

9
Nendo always manages to present their ideas in a dramatic fashion at the Milan Furniture Fair. This year they collaborated with COS on a small clothing line, and exhibited new product in a dark below-grade showroom.

 

10
If there was one surprising trend that made an appearance almost everywhere, it was the return of Memphis – thirty three years after the Memphis group made their splash in Milan. If anything, much like the original movement, the Memphis look took over most decorative or graphical applications.

 

11
Having never visited the showroom / gallery / cafe / patio Spazio Rossana Orlandi, it was an unexpected treat to come across.

 

12
Walk the Line – a collaboration between Luca Nichetto and Toronto’s Mjolk presented the Sucabaruca coffee set, as well as the new Cheburashka tableware. A really beautiful collection.

 

13
Berlin-based, long time EQ3 collaborators, 45 Kilo were part of a group exhibition called Desiderabilia, a well presented and interesting show.

 

14
Also in the Lambrate area, Jamie Haydon presented some new work. I’m generally not the biggest fan of his work, but I thought one of his new light designs was a nice take on a modern-like chandelier.

 

Image Source: All photographs credited to Thom Fougere

How To: Design with EQ3′s Blanche Sofa

Apr 20, 2014

(0 comments)

We love the Blanche room display that’s been greeting guests inside EQ3 stores this season. It’s warm, comfortable and inviting, and designed to fit into any environment.

 

Modern loft? Traditional two-storey? Summer cottage? Absolutely!

 

EQ3′s Visual Team worked long and hard to get this room setting just right, and we wanted to know how they did it. So we’ve asked Cliff, EQ3 Winnipeg’s Visual Coordinator, to show us how he created this relaxed, modern vignette – from initial sketches to final design! Take it away Cliff…

 

blanche_horizontalFinal living room design featuring the Blanche Sofa (image from EQ3′s Spring Supplement)

 

To introduce the Blanche collection, EQ3’s Visual Team wanted to do something special and playful, yet simple and relaxed. The design of Blanche effortlessly balances comfort, simplicity and style; consequently, my goal was to present the collection in a room that looked neither bare nor cluttered.

 

Although, stylistically, the collection is an unique introduction to the EQ3 upholstery range, it seamlessly pairs with many of our other products. The Blanche Sofa’s Belgian linen slipcover is complemented particularly well by designs that use natural oak and marble materials, such as the Custom End and Custom Coffee Tables. It also pairs well with our Reclaimed Teak Coffee Table and Plasma Unit, Simone End Table, and Tessa Mod Shelving. Personally, I enjoy a room with various materials and silhouettes that complement each other, but if you are unsure of what woods will work well together, marble is always a great finish to integrate with existing wood pieces.

 

Blanche-Sofa-display-concept-sketch01

Sketch drawn by Cliff during initial concept development

 

When proposing in-store displays, creativity is required to capture a series of distinct moments while delineating different rooms from one another. Unlike your home, stores often lack walls or architectural elements that serve to frame our living spaces. For these reasons, I decided to use a sculptural selection of brand new lighting and chairs as a scrim to stop the eye. This idea developed from an early sketch, until it was translated into three dimensions with real product.

 

By juxtaposing the dark, modern designs with the texture of linen, natural oak and marble, we created a room that could easily be integrated into any home. Similar techniques can be helpful in the home by using existing architecture to your advantage, strategically placing artwork and furniture to frame the space, and integrating various materials, colours and textures for added visual interest.

 

By offsetting the Custom Coffee Table and Corfu Rug from one another I was able to increase circulation space, while showcasing the graphic pattern of the handwoven rug. The final step in this vignette was introducing a selection of exciting, new accessories.

 

Overall, the Blanche Sofa is the perfect new addition for spring.

 

 

Shop this look:

 

Blanche Sofa ($1,999.00) / Micah Floor Lamp (129.99) / Custom Coffee Table, Oak Top ($499.00) / Corfu Wool Rug ($299.99) / Milan Throw ($39.99) / Tessa Mod Shelves (price based on configuration) / EQ3+ Marimekko Haiku Mug ($20.00) / Coast Marble Bowl ($49.99) / EQ3+ Sagaform Oval Oak Wine Carafe ($34.95) / EQ3+ Sagaform Herb Pot ($24.95) / EQ3+ Marimekko Siirtolapuutarha Bowl ($29.50)

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for 2014

Apr 18, 2014

(0 comments)

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and EQ3′s got gifts that Mom and her home are sure to love.

 

EQ3-Mothers-Day-Gift-Guide-bedroom-lifestyle-image

Duplex  Bedding in red/white

 

Head to your local EQ3 retail store or shop online at EQ3.com for everything from hardworking kitchen utensils to easy going arm chairs, and everything in between. There’s a gift for every budget! But with so many options to choose from, we thought you could use a little help. That’s where EQ3′s Visual Team comes in.

 

Today, Brenna and Cliff are sharing their favourite Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for 2014.

 

Blog-EQ3-Gift-Card-Mothers-Day

 

Brenna’s picks:

 

Duplex duvet set in red/white
Flirt, Stripe and Kayak paper napkins
Herb Scissors
Shadow Vase

 

Cliff’s picks:

 

Anything from the Coast marble collection, including the bowl and the cake stand
EQ3+ Sagaform Birdie carafe in blue and grey (currently available in-store only)
Milan Throw in grey

 

And, when all else fails, an EQ3 gift card won’t!

 

md_blog_banner_en

 

Pssst. EQ3′s Mother’s Day promo starts today! Save 20% off EQ3′s Karbon Chair & Ottoman with stationary or swivel base in any fabric or leather. Offer valid now until Mother’s Day.

Shop EQ3.com For Modern Furniture and Accessories