Sustainable and fashionable? Yes, please. These are the characteristics of our featured fière Quebecoise furniture maker Maude Eloïse Bouchard Furness, whose two collections of waste-free furniture made their debut outside of La Belle Province for the first time in January at Toronto’s Interior Design Show.
“It was always my instinct to do this ecologically. There was no reason for me to do things like everyone else, or try to be Ikea deux,” Bouchard Furness explained from her studio, Atelier HOCH. “If it’s clear someone has implicated themselves in the creation of something, been conscious about where they source materials, eliminated waste, and given their pieces identity, character and personality … well, you can’t just throw that out!”
With an evident passion for her craft, Bouchard Furness said that a decision to ‘go green’ in all areas of production was innate, building from a strong desire to break away from global design manufacturing norms in favour of the hyper-local and harm-free.
“[In this industry], things are made fast and sweet, parail parail, and that doesn’t please me at all,” she says, adding that she prefers her work to have unique details in the cuts of local wood or varying tints of natural dye. The result is a contemporary collection you can feel good about bringing into your home. Something you’ll be proud to own, too.
Her two series – the Boréal Collection and the Yamaska Collection – are at once bold and natural. Structured and functional, she says her work is inspired by the province of Quebec itself: “the winter, the nature, the open spaces, the cȏté rude, and primal, fundamental instincts.”
Bouchard Furness has been producing her line of eco furniture since 2010, after an injury left her with time off to re-evaluate her work as an artistic director of a video production company. She recalled feeling frustrated at not being able to find “ecological stuff” to use on set and for freelance interior design projects, and began looking into it.
It would take her almost a year to source the materials, woodworkers and partners to create her own line and find the methods to be as efficient as possible in production.
Today, her lead time is between four and six weeks.
Since starting up, Bouchard Furness has also begun collaborating with Montreal-based art and retail space Galerie CO, which represented the young creative and recently featured her work in Toronto at Studio North during the Interior Design Show.
Bouchard Furness says she’s working on branching out to sustainable lighting and shelving units, as well as other tables and potentially a sofa unit. She revealed that a new collection – and new associations with local artisans – will be ready in the autumn.
In the meantime, find her work and through Galerie CO and follow them on Twitter @GalerieCo for updates.