Simons Celebrating Canadian Woodworkers
Since before confederation, Simons has been a Canadian business. Started in 1812 when Peter Simons arrived from Scotland and settled just outside of Quebec City, the company has grown to be a Canadian staple. Recently, the department store has announced a collaboration with four Canadian-based woodworkers and designers to design collections for their home section.
“In Canada, trades are more alive than ever thanks to the vision and fearlessness of artisans who, at their core, want to build a bridge between tradition and modernity,” reads Simon’s article on the collaboration.
Based in Concord, Ontario, Kroft is a company lead by founder Dustin Kroft, making heirloom-quality pieces from original designs which are locally made, the old-fashioned way. For the Kroft team, the focus is making objects that are both aesthetically pleasing and practical. Kroft’s collection for Simons features sleek shelves, cabinets, and peg hook rails.
“There’s definitely a pattern or a theme of storage, tidiness, and organization that’s worked into a lot of our products,” Kroft explains. “There’s something about order and function that’s definitely at the forefront of innovation. The function is always paramount in terms of driving new products we’re developing.”
Architecture and design of the past and present are inspirations for Kroft, and he finds inspiration in everyday objects out in the real world.
The designer behind Beau Grain is Guillaume Gareau Loyer, a cabinetmaker from Sainte-Marcelline-de-Kildare, Quebec, committed to making kitchen tools inspired by nature. Each of his unique pieces expresses his respect for his material as he constantly seeks out quality and beauty.
“I believe my products, by their qualities of construction and design, offer a beautiful alternative to disposable and meaningless objects,” explains Gareau Loyer. “Such an object, beautiful and practical, creates a connection with the user. In return, he’ll take care of it. Beauty is therefore intimately linked to durability.”
Wanting to create quality objects that would be timeless and durable, Gareau Loyer started off making cutting boards and knife holders. Investing his modest resources in the company, he acquired the essential tools and techniques that would enable him to produce pieces of the highest quality.
Stéphane Dumont has been committed to Arbol for more than 15 years. At his studio in Bas-Saint-Laurent, Quebec, he expresses his passion for cooking through rolling pins, spice grinders, and knife blocks, designed to be used daily for years to come.
“I’m also a foodie. I love to cook,” he explains. “I started developing a collection of kitchen products.”
His work distinguishes itself in part by the quality of the materials employed in the design of his pieces. Maple, cherry, and black walnut — indigenous species in North America — are the main varieties used. It’s the researched and refined designs of Arbol’s products that make them stand out.
Thanks to the process of techniques that he favours, the results are neat and meticulous. These characteristics confer originality and uniqueness to Arbol’s work. These high-class creations will know how to please and pass the test of time.
Inspired by his studies in architecture and his interest in patterns, designer Jonathan Dorthe reinterprets everyday objects at Atelier-D in Montreal. From checkers to dominoes to cribbage, Johnathan redesigns classic games in wood with the help of contemporary techniques like laser cutting and engraving.
“I create an architectural vocabulary by mixing motifs with materials,” says Dorthe. “Throughout the collections, Atelier-D strives to define contemporary craftsmanship.”
Atelier-D’s collection for Simons includes these classic games, as well as oak clocks and oblika puzzles. He also produces light fixtures, organizers, and accessories designed for the modern home. Besides the items available to order online at the department store, all of Atelier-D’s products are made to order, which adds a personal touch.