• mahabis retreats // fogo island studios

todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal


Sometimes, you stumble across something wondrous in the most unlikely of places. Newfoundland architect, Todd Saunders created a collection of striking modern structures on a tiny island off the north-east coast of Canada, providing quiet and reflective spaces for artists to retreat and work in the quiet seclusion of the natural environment.

todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal


todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal

 

Renowned for his work across Scandinavia, Saunders was commissioned by the Shorefast Foundation to create six artist’s studios on the island to coincide with plans to attract visitors with an interest in arts, culture and sustainable tourism. Having grown up just across the water, Saunders had a keen interest in Fogo Island which, when combined with his love of contemporary builds, eco-friendly design and respecting the natural environment, provided the perfect formula for creating the studios.

todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal


todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal

 

The first studio was completed in 2010, closely followed by three further studios in 2011 and the Fogo Inn the following year. There are two more studios to be completed before the project ends. All of the buildings have a strong focus on eco-friendly materials and energy, utilising solar power and including wood burning stoves. They are designed to interact with nature and withstand harsh weather conditions, with inspiration drawn from the natural landscape and the traditional fishing huts on stilts that can still be found across the island. Living and working in such seclusion allows the visiting artists to concentrate on their work and gain inspiration from their surroundings, whilst also providing the perfect space to get away from it all and completely unwind.

todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal


todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal

 

The studios are named according to their shape and structure: Tower Studio, Bridge Studio, Long Studio and Squish Studio. Short Studio and Fogo Studio are still to be completed. The spaces have been designed with artists in mind. Large windows allow light to flood into the interiors, and windows are perfectly framed to display dramatic views of the surrounding scenery. Even the routes to the individual studios have been carefully considered. The structures are all placed away from communities, secluded but within easy reach. The tracks from the nearby settlements appear like sculptures themselves, perfectly contrasting from the landscape whilst somehow working in unison to complement rather than distract from the natural environment.

todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal


todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal

 

Fogo Inn was created as an afterthought, following the success of the first four studios. The 29-room inn was designed to be a meeting point for the artists in residence to gather together and with the locals as part of the newly established Fogo Island Arts Corporation. More than just a hotel, the inn features a library, a sauna, outdoor hot tubs, an art gallery, a restaurant and a small cinema space. The building is filled with furniture, textiles and art works handcrafted by the local dwellers and the visiting artists, and is ran and maintained by local residents. It is a space for relaxation and communication, for when those staying in the remote studios wish to get together.

 

Todd Saunders’ architectural designs have created a strong Scandinavian aesthetic on this remote Canadian island. The studios and inn have revitalised tourism on Fogo Island, whilst maintaining a strong eco-friendly ethos, respecting the environment whilst providing optimum conditions for downtime.

todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal


todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal
Photos: Iwan Baan, Alex Fradkin, Bent René Synnevåg, via Saunders Architecture (http://saunders.no/work/fogo-island-inn/)

mahabis retreats // fogo island studios

todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal


Sometimes, you stumble across something wondrous in the most unlikely of places. Newfoundland architect, Todd Saunders created a collection of striking modern structures on a tiny island off the north-east coast of Canada, providing quiet and reflective spaces for artists to retreat and work in the quiet seclusion of the natural environment.

todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal


todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal

 

Renowned for his work across Scandinavia, Saunders was commissioned by the Shorefast Foundation to create six artist’s studios on the island to coincide with plans to attract visitors with an interest in arts, culture and sustainable tourism. Having grown up just across the water, Saunders had a keen interest in Fogo Island which, when combined with his love of contemporary builds, eco-friendly design and respecting the natural environment, provided the perfect formula for creating the studios.

todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal


todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal

 

The first studio was completed in 2010, closely followed by three further studios in 2011 and the Fogo Inn the following year. There are two more studios to be completed before the project ends. All of the buildings have a strong focus on eco-friendly materials and energy, utilising solar power and including wood burning stoves. They are designed to interact with nature and withstand harsh weather conditions, with inspiration drawn from the natural landscape and the traditional fishing huts on stilts that can still be found across the island. Living and working in such seclusion allows the visiting artists to concentrate on their work and gain inspiration from their surroundings, whilst also providing the perfect space to get away from it all and completely unwind.

todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal


todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal

 

The studios are named according to their shape and structure: Tower Studio, Bridge Studio, Long Studio and Squish Studio. Short Studio and Fogo Studio are still to be completed. The spaces have been designed with artists in mind. Large windows allow light to flood into the interiors, and windows are perfectly framed to display dramatic views of the surrounding scenery. Even the routes to the individual studios have been carefully considered. The structures are all placed away from communities, secluded but within easy reach. The tracks from the nearby settlements appear like sculptures themselves, perfectly contrasting from the landscape whilst somehow working in unison to complement rather than distract from the natural environment.

todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal


todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal

 

Fogo Inn was created as an afterthought, following the success of the first four studios. The 29-room inn was designed to be a meeting point for the artists in residence to gather together and with the locals as part of the newly established Fogo Island Arts Corporation. More than just a hotel, the inn features a library, a sauna, outdoor hot tubs, an art gallery, a restaurant and a small cinema space. The building is filled with furniture, textiles and art works handcrafted by the local dwellers and the visiting artists, and is ran and maintained by local residents. It is a space for relaxation and communication, for when those staying in the remote studios wish to get together.

 

Todd Saunders’ architectural designs have created a strong Scandinavian aesthetic on this remote Canadian island. The studios and inn have revitalised tourism on Fogo Island, whilst maintaining a strong eco-friendly ethos, respecting the environment whilst providing optimum conditions for downtime.

todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal


todd saunders fogo island architecture // mahabis journal
Photos: Iwan Baan, Alex Fradkin, Bent René Synnevåg, via Saunders Architecture (http://saunders.no/work/fogo-island-inn/)
  • Emma Lavelle
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