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Zoë Mowat operates Zoë Mowat Design, a furniture and object design studio in Montreal, Quebec. Zoë’s work has a strong sculptural component with emphasis on simple forms, bold colours and unusual material combinations. We had the pleasure to chat with Zoë this week. We asked her a few questions on inspiration and creativity. Here is a little more about her practice from her studio in the Mile end of Montreal.


Tell us about your most recent project.
I’ve been preparing new pieces for a show in New York Design Week in May, called Sight Unseen Offsite. One of the designs that I will be launching there is a series called Tablescapes — a grouping of pieces that are inspired by the Eames’ philosophy of “select and arrange,” where the home becomes a fluid and experimental collage of objects that adapt and change over time. The series includes a long console shelf and coffee table in stained ash and powder-coated steel. Coloured pine and walnut forms serve as integrated bookends, containers, and raised platforms for objects and vignettes, and slabs of granite offer a resting place for a hot teapot or mug. By selecting and arranging objects along the surfaces, the console shelf and table transform into landscapes of personal souvenirs, books, and ephemera.

Zoë — work

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from the details — the patterns, shapes, textures, colours, sensations, materials — I encounter everyday while working in my studio, wandering through art galleries, traveling, or walking around my Montreal neighborhood.

Where is each piece made?

My designs are all made by hand in my studio in the mile end. I often work with local manufacturers and artisans for certain components — welding, glassblowing, slip casting, lathe turning, for example, and then the rest I do myself. I value quality craftsmanship and this approach allows me oversee the details. I think that producing locally is important. I feel that people are becoming more and more aware of the provenance of objects and are starting to seek out local craft and the story behind it.


How do you choose the materials for your product.
When it comes to materials, I definitely have my favourites, but I’m always looking to find inspiration in new materials and processes. My work is often very material driven and I enjoy combining different elements and playing with texture, colour, and proportion. I tend to select materials that possess a particular quality that I’m drawn to and I often incorporate certain pieces for their tactility, warmth, sheen, colour, density, longevity, or their contrast with another quality.

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What does living beautifully mean to you?
For me, living beautifully is living simply. I try and focus on and surround myself with what I love, and then build a home that reflects that. Back again to provenance, I feel that knowing where the things in your life come from and valuing their story is part of living beautifully.

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 2.40.46 PMTo see more of Zoë’s work :