Meet the Designer: Zoë Mowat
On a hot summer afternoon, we caught up with Zoë Mowat to drink ice cold lemonade at Little Brick Café in Riverdale and chat about the inspiration that drives her design and the role design has played in her life.
Zoë, a graduate from the industrial design program at the University of Alberta, operates Zoë Mowat Design, a studio in Montreal that focuses on furniture and objects. Although noting Edmonton's supportive community built her rolodex of resources, she's excited for the change of city to inspire her.
Design has always been part of her life, she says. “I always thought I was going to be a sculptor, my mother was a sculptor and when I was younger we’d work together, collaborating in her studio and creating things.”
Zoë’s approach to design remains sculptural, in recent years her work is driven by the abstract and sundries, taking something small like the isolated details, for example a seam, and focusing on the gesture to turn it into a table.
Her work aims to create objects that the owner has a physical connection with and not just an emotional one. “What it comes down to is creating objects that are a personal translation of the world around you through form, material and colour. It’s a counterbalance of that human element, user experience and how we use objects to add value and meaning to our lives.”
Consequently, when designing, Zoë considers how the object sounds and feels.
“It’s easy to overlook how much work, engineering and thought goes into a final product. It’s really important to step back and look at those objects in your life and the role they play.”
To wrap up our time with Zoë we asked a couple rapid-fire questions:
What are three words that best describe your design?
Refined, colourful, and minimal.
What are your hopes for the objects you create?
I want things to be enjoyed and used. They’re not meant to be art pieces that are left to sit on a shelf.
Why does design matter?
On a basic level, it enhances our life and communicates to much about us – where we are in our time and place.