Earlier this year Houseporn.ca (HP) featured a story about Six Point Un, a Quebec City-based design studio. Their practice draws inspiration from the Canadian landscape, sourcing materials from areas across Montreal and Quebec City. Their goal? To craft home products and furnishings that marry Canada's distinct regional approach with broad appeal.
We were pleased when Jeremy Couture, who leads the studio alongside Claudia Després, agreed to take some time to chat with us about local design.
Image courtesy sixpointun.ca/about-us/company/
HP: In what ways has working in Quebec City influenced your practice?
Jeremy Couture: My first thought would be not much, but when I look at it a little deeper, I think there are some ways that it did [...]. In fact, because my partner and I are from Quebec City, it is hard to judge [my practice] properly since I believe we remain biased by our origins. From my personal experience, when comparing cities where I lived for more than a year (Montreal, Nantes, Helsinki) there is obviously a feeling, a life rhythm, and a culture, that influences my thinking, so my practice too. I guess Six Point Un has always wanted to live with a certain peace of mind and a tendency towards tranquility, and I believe Quebec City has offered this to us. This has had an impact on the design we have introduced throughout our young existence as a business.
HP: How does the creative culture in Quebec City compare to other cities in which you've lived and worked?
Jeremy Couture: Quebec City is still a really young player in the design (more product design) scene I believe, but the truth is that I really see it as emerging and diverse. I don’t really know how to compare the levels of creativity and the cities and the criteria based on which to compare them, but as a general portrait, from my experiences in living in other cities, it is fairly comparable.
HP: Are there challenges, or advantages, you've come across in ensuring products are made locally?
Jeremy Couture: Yes quite a lot. In fact, since our start we’ve been looking for partnerships with suppliers that were the closest to where we operated. We believe that the flexibility to have them close helped make quicker decisions and faster prototypes, which is still the case today and a quite interesting asset to have. It also reduces our ecological footprint by limiting transportation and using local materials, as well as having a closer relation with our partners and helping local industries to continue doing what they are doing. One of our biggest challenge is to come up with competitive retail prices with low production volumes compared to larger companies, and find solutions to diminish the impact on pricing of local higher-rate salaries.
HP: Do you feel there is a specific Canadian aesthetic in furniture design? How does this play into the design of Six Point Un's pieces?
Jeremy Couture: That is a question people seem to ask more often. I see it as a step forward in the search for Canadian design, at least a sign of interest for it. If there is an aesthetic that could be qualified as Canadian design, or common in the design pieces that emerge from Canadian designers, I believe it is hard to see and define [it]. In my opinion, we need to have a more profound collective direction so to call it Canadian design, a hard thing to accomplish while being dispersed through such land mass. This is a position we believe is quite interesting, meaning that we have the opportunity as designers to define and integrate design as a vector of identification. For sure this remains a personal vision of what we perceive as being our identity as Canadians, but it has led us to dream of our collection of furniture, and new ways to experience Canada and Quebec, i.e. a more rooted and local vision of furniture. I believe our slogan tells well that aim: Live Canadian. Vivre le Québec.
To learn more about this brilliant and emerging design studio, make sure to visit Six Point Un's site.
This piece was written by Miranda Corcoran, a designer based in Toronto, who is currently studying lighting design at Ryerson University.