Canadian furniture designer Thom Fougere’s minimal pieces are as beautifully stark as a Winnipeg winter. Deeply ensconced in the design scene there, Fougere’s Friday Five brings us on a tour of the city’s bests, as well as thought-provoking looks at the art of collecting, and an introduction to off-the-beaten-path artists and film makers.

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1. Winnipeg
Winnipeg, a small wintery city located in the heart of the Canadian prairies, is currently the strongest influence on my work and the place I call home. For what the city lacks in size and temperate weather conditions it makes up for in the amount of outstanding creative work being produced.

Winnipeg is filled with some insanely talented people working on extraordinarily original projects. The Winnipeg arts scene is a small underground, often un-united, community of individuals and it’s not always easy to know about to all the great stuff happening here. Some of my favorite nights are when I end up in a studio or apartment of someone producing really unique projects that few know about. What excites me most about all of this work is that much of it is influenced by the place itself, and speaks to a particular Canadian prairie vernacular that I am quite taken by.

Currently, local architecture firm 5468796 is picking up a lot of momentum internationally. Artist Ken Lavallee is creating phenomenal work as is painter Ted Barker, and of course Guy Maddin, whose film My Winnipeg garnered international notoriety, and who still calls Winnipeg home.

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2. Ronan + Erwan Bouroullec: Bivouac Exhibition
I was fortunate enough to visit the Ronan + Erwan Bouroullec Bivouac Exhibition in Metz, France earlier this year. The gallery assembled the entire library of R+E work into a single space overlooking the city of Metz. I’ve been a fan of the Bouroullec brothers for years now, and it was fantastic to experience a space designed by the brothers, filled with the entirety of their work.

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3. Mjolk
This shop is a must for anyone visiting Toronto. The owners John and Juli are extremely knowledgeable about the products they carry. I think my attraction to the store is a consequence of its level of curation. Every object in the shop has been selected on a basis of strict guidelines, with the collection as a whole in mind. This passion for fastidious curation is really what makes the shop exceptional. I would consider Mjolk to be one of the best design shops I’ve visited. John and Juli’s store is just as they suggest — Mjolk means “milk” and connotes what is pure, honest, and essential (editor’s note: why do you think we chose it for our name, too?).

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Photo by Geninne

4. Collections
I’ve recently recognized I’m compulsive collector. Over the past few years I have unconsciously amassed a collection of wood spoons and kitchen utensils. I am also getting into knives, satchels, bottle openers, and small regional kitchen items.

Although seemingly peculiar, I believe humans are innately collectors and that the things we collect often seep into our lives in a broader context than simply existing as an object in a drawer. Subconsciously, I know that through collecting I am doing research for a possible future project, which really allows me to embrace whatever obscure item I am obsessing over at the time.

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5. Werner Herzog
I’ve been on a Werner Herzog kick for the past year or so. I was initially drawn to his documentary films, which I find to be thought provoking and entertaining, however I quickly realized it is Herzog himself who truly interests me. His unconditional willingness to offer interesting perspectives on just about everything, coupled with his uncanny knack for detecting extraordinary in the ordinary makes him, in my mind, one of the most interesting people alive. I’m currently making my way through Herzog on Herzog, a collection of interviews with Werner Herzog reflecting on past projects, and offering peculiar insights into just about every topic.