Entries Tagged as 'Design'

Warming Huts 2014

Feb 11, 2014

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Every Winter, Winnipeg’s Red and Assiniboine Rivers freeze over, transforming them into the Red River Mutual Trail – the longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world¹. Of course, in true Canadian fashion, locals have found more than one way to put this stretch of ice to good use. Events like ice bike races, curling bonspiels, Winter Bike to Work Day and RAW:almond all celebrate and capitalize on the city’s cold northern climate.


But, perhaps, the coolest event to take place on the river trail is Warming Huts: An Art + Architecture competition on ice. The international competition was first held in 2010, and has since become an annual tradition. Each year, the Manitoba Association of Architects invites architects from all over the world to submit a Warming Hut design proposal. Winning designers travel to Winnipeg to construct their Warming Huts right on the ice, and visitors of the trail are encouraged to use and interact with them.


We recently visited the trail to check out a few of this year’s designs. It was bitterly cold that day, so we really got a taste for their warming effect. Here’s a few of the Warming Huts that caught our attention, along with short interviews introducing you to the designers behind them!



Red Blanket 


Winnipeg-Warming-Huts-Red-BlanketRed Blanket, Workshop Architecture Inc. (Toronto)






Workshop Architecture (workshoparchitecture.ca) was established in 2010 out of a desire to create buildings and spaces for communities and with community input. “We work collaboratively with our clients and the people who use the buildings and have a particular focus on education spaces,” says Helena Grdadolnik, BES, M.Arch of Workshop Architecture.



EQ3  What’s the concept behind Red Blanket?


Helena Grdadolnik  The idea for Red Blanket was to make something that is visually exciting to skate towards from a distance (a visual marker against the surrounding white winter palette), but that would also be warm and inviting when you arrived close to it. The wall of thick felt sways in the wind and will protect skaters from the gales. Each of the nine panels is sized to be the width and length of a single roll of bright red felted wool. The bottom ends of these monumental-scaled panels will act as a warm blanket for people to wrap themselves in, one or two at a time.



EQ3  What challenges did you encounter in designing a structure that works in Manitoba’s harsh climate conditions?


HG  We enlisted the help of a Winnipeg-based engineer, Roy McPhail, to ensure that the design of the structure would work in the climate, particularly the high winds. Another big challenge was to try to simplify the sequence of the outdoor construction. We designed the piece so that most of the finicky handwork for hanging the blankets could be completed indoors. Nonetheless, hanging the panels from the underside of the bridge was still a big feat, especially in the extreme cold and high winds we encountered that week. Our office worked with the building crew at the Forks Corporation, Dave and Colin, who were very skilled and amazing at working under Winnipeg winter conditions.



EQ3  How do you envision people using and interacting with your design?


HG Our warming hut is hung from a pedestrian bridge near the Forks market. People skating and walking the trail can use the red blankets as a visual marker against the surrounding white winter palette for miles in each direction. When people get closer, they can skate through the blankets and cocoon themselves in it from head to toe. There are two rows of blankets, so they create an outdoor “room” which will be a slightly warmer microclimate and an intimate space along the trail. People can snuggle up in the blankets one or two at a time or if it’s a larger group, they can pull the large blankets closer for warmth.





Winnipeg-Warming-Huts-Nuzzles-1Nuzzels, Raw Design Inc. (Toronto)






RAW Design Inc. (rawdesign.ca) is a young architectural office based in Toronto. “We work in a variety of building types and scales, but like to participate in competitions like this one to challenge ourselves to think outside the box and experiment with new materials, scales, and types of structures than we normally encounter day-to-day,” says Aaron Hendershott of RAW Design.



EQ3  What’s the concept behind Nuzzles?


Aaron Hendershott  The concept behind Nuzzles emerged from wanting to invert the prototypical hut. Moving away from the idea of an introverted enclosure, Nuzzles was designed for users to nestle into a structure encompassed by a multitude of insulated appendages, all while remaining connected to the outside and its elements.



EQ3  It’s sort of cheeky and ironic that Nuzzles – a structure intended to be used during the winter – is constructed with pool noodles. What inspired this playful approach?


AH  It’s funny, there doesn’t appear to be anything more out of season than a pool noodle in the dead of winter. But they also happen to be perfect for what we wanted to achieve: they have insulating properties, come in bright colours that stand out in the snow, and they are flexible and soft. Perfect for nuzzling!



EQ3  How do you envision people using and interacting with your design?


AH  Our goal was to provide an engaging experience by creating something playful and interactive for the visitors of the Forks. We hope that people of all ages will be delighted to play in and around them, climb them and jump into them. I’m sure people will find new ways to play with them that we hadn’t thought of.



Little Red Library



Little Red Library, David Penner Architect (Winnipeg)






David Penner Architect (www.davidpennerarchitect.ca) is a 4 person architectural office that works on custom residential, multi-unit residential, commercial, educational and cultural projects. “Of late, our work has explored areas of transparency, opaqueness and layering, social engagement and education, and minimalist constructions,” says David Penner, MAA, RAIC. of David Penner Architect.


Little Red Library is David Penner Architect’s second Warming Hut design. They did a ‘rogue’ hut called Corogami in the first year of competition, which received a lot of international attention and went on to win a Prairie Design Award of Excellence. This year’s design was not part of the competition, but rather it acts as a peripheral installation to the other Warming Huts.



EQ3  What’s the concept behind Little Red Library?


David Penner  We were searching for something iconic on the one hand, which is challenging with a budget of $1000. The concept was to develop a simple but powerful enclosure to house a conventional, semi-nostalgic and easily identifiable bookcase. We were very excited by the prospect of creating a miniature interior environment of the fantastical, of the surreal. We’re pretty happy with the results.



EQ3  Your design combines, what appear to be, two very distinct structures (ie. the ice fishing shack and the little free library). How did you make this connection?


DP  The traditional ice fishing shack can in fact be a reading room, the fisherman skimming outdoorsman magazines while waiting for that elusive tug on the line. I think it was only natural for us to consider the ice fishing shack when we first started thinking about a ‘hut’, reinforced by experiences we had on a frozen Lake Winnipeg. Upon reflection, the refinement of the shack into an archetypal model, an expression of the purist form of our design philosophies, was an opportunity we couldn’t resist.



EQ3  How do you envision people using and interacting with your design?


DP  We’re hoping that one’s movement from outside to inside will be like travelling to another place, like what happens when reading the descriptions of place in a good book. We hope it will encourage people to read.



Thanks to all of the designers we interviewed! Visit WarmingHuts.com to see all of this year’s Warming Hut designs. You can also check out photo galleries from previous competitions here.

The RAW:almond Experience

Feb 8, 2014


As promised, today we’re recapping last weekend’s experience at RAW:almond in Winnipeg.


The river pop up restaurant is a simple, ice-inspired structure constructed out of twisted scaffolding. From a distance, the restaurant looked quiet and unassuming – it’s white tented structure disappearing into the surrounding landscape of ice and snow – but as we approached the tent, we were greeted by a bright magenta lit corridor that hinted at the fun waiting for us inside.



Chef Mandel Hitzer (Deer+Almond) with Chef Ben Kramer from (Diversity Food Services)




We entered the tent bundled in several layers of winter wear, preparing ourselves for a cold night on the ice, but the interior of the tent was surprisingly warm. We’d like to think that it was the excitement and energetic buzz that kept the chill out that night.


Much like the restaurant’s exterior, the interior of the tent was designed to be simple and functional. The first section was set up for 30 diners (including EQ3′s own Thom, Madi and Tessa). A long, black communal table filled much of the space, and was surrounded by thirty wood stumps covered with sheepskin throws. A twisted metal sculpture and exposed bulbs were suspended above the table, doubling as ambient lighting and art. Chef Scott Bagshaw from Deseo Bistro was preparing the feast that night: five soul-warming courses with beer, wine and spirit pairings.



Thom (EQ3′s Creative Director) and Madi (EQ3′s Casegoods Product Developer) were seated at the main table.



Chef Mandel Hitzer assists the Head Chef of the night, Scott Bagshaw of Deseo Bistro.





Daniel from local blog Charcoal Collaborative was our server at the Tasting Bar.


Charles and I (Amy) joined a smaller group of 10 at the back of the restaurant, where a lighter tasting bar was set-up. We instantly loved the cozy and casual atmosphere of this space, which was outfitted with a wooden table and bench-style seating. The table and surrounding walls were covered with handwritten notes and other graffiti. There was excitement among the group and lots of chatter the entire night. Each meal brought on more oohs and aahs. More conversation. It was our first time meeting the other guests, but there was an immediate sense of camaraderie…one that can only be forged by food and the communal table.


And, speaking of food! Chef Ben Kramer from Diversity Food Services was cooking tapas that evening. His restaurant and catering business focus on local, fresh and natural fare, so we knew we were in for a treat. The tapas meal included three special snacks and a boozy accompaniment for each. We were already feeling happily stuffed when Chef Kramer surprised us with a fourth course to satisfy our sweet tooth. Here’s a breakdown of the menu…





Course 1: Manitoba Pho

Stonewood elk, soba noodles, edamame, chili, scallion, pickled mushrooms.









Course 2: Sustainable Seafood

Seared hand-caught scallop, braised kale, vegetable chutney, white anchovies, chickpea crisp.









Course 3: Pork N Beans

Smoked pinto beans, pork belly, grilled bread, housemade horseradish mustard, pickled apple.









Course 4: Fair Trade Organic Pot du Crème

Coconut Ice Cream, dried cookie/hazelnut crumble, pomegranate seeds.










Chef Mandel Hitzer and Chef Ben Kramer wrapped up the night by collecting donations for the Great Canadian Sleepout.

It was in that moment that we could fully understand what RAW:almond is all about. So much more than a place to get good food, RAW:almond is about coming together…about celebrating northern culture through the things Winnipeggers can relate to best: food, art, community and design.


Check out this press listing for more great features on the event. Or check out this interview with RAW:almond co-visionary Joe Kalturnyk.

Toronto Design Week Dinner + Make Your Own Marimekko Napkins

Feb 4, 2014

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Last month, we hosted an intimate dinner and discussion at the EQ3 flagship store in Liberty Village. The idea came together simply out of opportunity: EQ3′s own Creative Director Thom Fougere was going to be in town for Toronto Design Week, as were Marimekko’s Ceramics Designer Sami Ruotsalainen and Herman Miller’s Senior Sales Manager Lisa Hubbs. A small group of local and national design journalists were invited to attend the event, and we were thrilled to round out the guest list with Arren Williams (Creative Director Home) and Michael Pinet (Buyer Furniture) from Hudson’s Bay. Not only are they one of the most historic and well-loved brands in the country, Hudson’s Bay houses an EQ3 gallery within many of their Canadian stores!




Thom started the night off with a tour of our flagship store. The group was shown new offerings from the EQ3+ Herman Miller line, including the Mirra 2 Chair and a special sneak peek at two Navy Eames Fiberglass Shell Chairs (the first of these newly reformulated chairs to come to Canada). Following the tour, everyone sat down for a delicious meal catered by Parts + Labour, and a discussion about the current state of Canadian design and what the future holds. The group also talked about the EQ3+ line, and how iconic brands such as Marimekko and Herman Miller complement EQ3 product. Marimekko adds colour and vibrancy to our stores with their boldly patterned goods, and Herman Miller completes our room settings with their classic designs.


The dinner took place around one large communal dining table comprised of two EQ3 Harvest Tables. White Eames Molded Plastic Chairs lined each side and the new Navy Eames Fiberglass Shell Chairs took pride of place at the head of the table. The table was set with our Partake Flatware, a selection of EQ3 Basics glassware and the Oiva side plate (one of Sami’s ceramic designs for Marimekko). To finish off each place setting, we had dinner napkins sewn specially for the event using fabric from EQ3′s Marimekko shop in shop.


Read on for easy 3-step instructions to this DIY project.









Making your own dinner napkins is easier than you think. All you need for this project are some basic sewing skills and a few metres of your favourite fabric!


Materials + Supplies: 


Fabric (we used Marimekko’s Jurmo in heavy weight cotton)

Spool of thread (we used blue to coordinate with our fabric)

Sewing machine with serger attachment






Step 1: Measure and cut fabric into a 19″ x 19″ square piece.





Step 2: Serge the edges of the square piece to prevent fabric from fraying.





Step 3: Sew a 1/2″ seam on all four sides of fabric. Finished size of napkin should be 18″ square.





And, that’s it! Just repeat the process until you have the desired number of napkins.


Thinking of trying this project? We’d love to see it.

Instagram or Tweet a photo to us @EQ3_Furniture using the hashtag #EQ3Spotted.

Herman Miller Mirra 2 Chair by Studio 7.5

Jan 23, 2014

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We recently came across an essay from Herman Miller, titled “Sit. Stand. Move. Repeat.,” discussing the importance of moving throughout the work day. It’s an interesting article that will leave you questioning the amount of time you spend sitting at the office. Herman Miller is not suggesting we abandon our desk chairs and stand all day (this would have its own health risks), they’re simply showing the benefits of a flexible work environment, one that moves with you as you go about your day.


The Mirra 2 Chair (new to the EQ3+ Herman Miller line) does just that.




Ten years after creating the award-winning Mirra Chair for Herman Miller, the Berlin-based designers of Studio 7.5 are once again advancing the way we sit. Mirra 2 moves as you do, at one with your body.¹ The chair is leaner and lighter than it’s earlier model, and responds to even the slightest of movements, supporting you wherever you go.²


In addition to advancing the chair’s technology, Studio 7.5 and Herman Miller also worked to reduce the chair’s environmental impact: it’s up to 93% recyclable and made with 46% recycled content.³ Even through all of these changes, Studio 7.5 has stayed true to their original vision – to create a chair that could react to what people do.



This video will introduce you to the chair:

The designers of Studio 7.5 on how Mirra 2 advances how you sit


Designer’s Passion, video by Herman Miller


Try out Herman Miller’s Mirra 2 Chair at an EQ3 store near you, or check it out in our online store here.




1. HermanMiller.com, Experience Mirra 2.

2. HermanMiller.com, Product Downloads, Environmental Information: Environmental Product Summary: Mirra 2 Chairs.

3. HermanMiller.com, Product Downloads, Product Literature: Mirra 2 Chairs Product Sheet.

‘Real’ Social Networking with PechaKucha

Dec 13, 2013

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Last week, we braved the cold (oh so cold!) weather to attend PechaKucha Night Winnipeg, Volume 16 at Park Theatre. “PechaKucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps – just about anything, really – in the PechaKucha 20×20 format,” says the PechaKucha website (PechaKucha.org). The event originated in Japan in 2003, but it’s popularity has grown significantly and you can now find local chapters all over the world.



Graphic for Volume 16 from the PechaKucha Night Winnipeg Facebook Page


The name PechaKucha comes from the Japanese term for chit chat. Events feature a line-up of presenters, who all speak on the topic of their choice. A slideshow of 20 images that each presenter has prepared in advance plays in the background while they talk, with each image appearing on-screen for exactly 20 seconds. If you’re like us and can’t do the math on a Friday afternoon, fear not! Wikipedia did it for us: each presentation lasts 6 minutes and 40 seconds.


Our favourites from Winnipeg’s most recent meet-up were Ray Fenwick, a local artist and designer, and Thom Fougere, a furniture designer and EQ3′s Creative Director (no bias’ here…this really is our honest opinion).


Here’s a sampling of slides from Thom’s PechaKucha presentation to give you an idea of what this can look like:



Slide 6 of 20: Steel Wood Table by Thom Fougere.



Slide 13 of 20: Interior of EQ3′s Flagship Store in Toronto. Design concept by Thom Fougere.



Slide 18 of 20: Thom Fougere + Børge Mogensen Pop Up Shop for the 2013 Winnipeg Design Festival.



Learn more about PechaKucha by visiting the FAQ section on their site. 

You can also find the PechaKucha event neareast you here.

Shop EQ3.com For Modern Furniture and Accessories