We first noticed the work of hollis+morris in 2015 at ICFF and then featured new work they launched last year. The Toronto-based brand may only be a few years old but they quickly found their ground thanks to their founder and designer, Mischa Couvrette. While studying for his bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences, he discovered a love of design through some friends who were on the way to becoming architects. He began making furniture, which led to renovating a boat with a friend that he went on to sail for a year to Guatemala. After settling in Toronto, hollis+morris was born. This week’s Friday Five gives insight into Couvrette’s continuous sources of inspiration, plus a fun way he’s discovered to blow off steam.
The seaside city and the capital of Nova Scotia, Canada, has been both a major inspiration and home away from home for me. I moved to Halifax for my undergrad with a yearning to be close to an ocean. My intuition proved to be correct, I fell in love with the landscape and I stayed there long after the completion of my degree. hollis+morris itself is named after a local intersection where the company began. Certain designs take literal inspiration from Halifax but all are inspired by the simple beauty of maritime life.
Design is always a play between form and function and I am continuously awed by the beauty and complexity of some of the largest manmade moving structures. My respect for naval architecture led me to overhaul a sailboat with a friend as a way of understanding more about how these vessels worked. Eventually curiosity and a sense of adventure led us to sailing our boat from Halifax to Guatemala. It was, in every sense, the trip of a lifetime.
3. Oaxaca, Mexico
Oaxaca has an incredible emerging art scene. It is home to thousands of artisans, and a place with remarkable creative spirit and rich indigenous history. It is also the place where most Mescals are made – delicious – and is often regarded as the culinary capital of Mexico – more delicious. I could go on and on but feel I run the risk of being scouted by Lonely Planet. All in all it is a favourite, and truly inspiring place.
4. Sebastião Salgado
An influential photography teacher put me on to the work of Sebastião Selgado feeling I would connect with his imagery. In particular, Salgado’s “Workers: Archeology of the Industrial Age,” a stunning series portraying workers around the world, revealed to me his revolutionary way of working with light. He provides a rare perspective on the hardship of these daily lives.
5. Ping Pong
A recent passion of mine and a great way to blow off some steam. I am currently looking for the right place to set up a table in the office much to the dismay of my employees who have little interest in playing ping pong with me.