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Fogo Island Inn

Joe Batt’s Arm, Newfoundland and Labrador
Design: Todd Saunders (Saunders Architecture)

If a building could be described as a star, Fogo Island Inn is a white-hot supernova lighting up Newfoundland’s rugged east coast. Tethered to local culture, Saunders’ structure, which partly rests on stilts, recalls the traditional fishing stages that dot the island’s shoreline. All 29 rooms frame the North Atlantic Ocean through floor-to-ceiling windows, as does the restaurant, letting in the last crimson rays of the day while waiters bring out sustainably harvested cod and Fogo-foraged herbs and berries from the award-winning kitchen. From the moment you check in, you’re embraced by the minimalist yet warm design: Brightly painted wooden furniture, conceived by international designers but inspired and made by local hands, along with rugs, quilts and wallpapers saturated with colour that stand out against all-white walls crafted from squat, sturdy Newfoundland spruce. It’s a combo that immediately puts you at ease – and that’s before you discover the freshly baked three-bun loaf with molasses waiting in your room. Yes, Saunders has created a superstar of a hotel, one that leaves jury member Sir Terence Conran (almost) speechless: “I love the serenity of the colours, the clean lines, the rooms flooded with natural light, the spectacular views, its back-to-basics sustainability and the way the architecture reflects the region’s history and culture. I don’t feel I have the words to praise it highly enough.”

Joe Batt’s Arm, 709-658-3444,

God Is in the Details
When Saunders, a Newfoundlander residing in Norway, was commissioned to design the Fogo Island Inn, his approach was to reimagine outport traditions – from the overall architecture all the way down to the smallest components. “The main entrance doorknobs are my favourite detail,” he says. Painted brilliant red, the oversize wooden knobs are inspired by the white or red circles painted on fishing-stage doors to guide fishermen to shore through darkness and fog. Here, the two red dots signal that you’ve arrived.

Fogo Island Inn

Twelve-metre high (artfully off-kilter) stilts prop up two floors of guest rooms without impacting the lichens and berries below.

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Comments… or add another

J. Zoel Robichaud

Tuesday, December 22nd 2015 20:36
I am writing this short note in hope you can help me. I'm looking for a friend and former co-worker by the name of Cyril P. Penton originaly from Fogo. Worked with him for 25 yrs and havent heard of him for 35 yrs. If he's not on the island believe could be in Gander.
Tks for ur help,let me know
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