Best of NUVO 2021

Next chapter.

As another year comes to a close, we are highlighting some of the best, most-read stories from the past year. We have filled our pages with the words and photographs of creatives from across Canada and beyond. We pride ourselves on bringing you the exceptional—the beautiful narratives of visionaries, stunning designs, and marvellous journeys. Here are twenty-one NUVO stories that deserve a standing ovation. Happy New Year!


1. Coastal Retreat by Walker Warner Architects

Walker Warner Architects created a retreat on the California coast that is influenced by the design elements typical of a home in Cape Cod.


2. For Shawn Hunt, Tradition Is the Edge that Carves the Future

Shawn Hunt’s process involves moving between mediums, and speaking with him, one can tell he lives in motion, with thoughts and words carefully chosen with a fluid precision.


3. The Magic of Summer on European Coastlines

From behind the lens, Lavinia Cernau frames the prosaic, capturing life in beauty and light by focusing her eye on the real-life moments one tends to overlook.


4. How Regenerative Agriculture Will Change the Way We Eat for the Better and Help the Planet

In a lot of ways, regenerative agriculture is less of a new idea than it is a return to age-old farming techniques.


5. Architect Michael Green on Impact, Legacy, and the Risks We Take for a Better World

At its inception, MGA was possibly the only firm in North America using just wood in the building process, and this philosophy doesn’t stop at the construction or the material but considers wood from a holistic perspective.


6. Faust Haus Is Napa Valley’s Elegantly Rebellious Vineyard

A dynamic team of designers, architects, landscape designers, and winemakers bring to vivid life the dramatic new Faust Haus wine-tasting centre.


7. Jackie Kai Ellis: An Inspired Life in Pictures

Writer, designer, pastry chef, fashion ambassador, and entrepreneur, Jackie Kai Ellis is a kaleidoscope of passions and professions.


8. Lune 1860 Is an Estate of Lifestyle and Leisure in Ontario’s Countryside

Alongside the interior design expertise of Studio Author, Mok built her vision of a perfect dinner party sojourn under the thematic banner of the moon, which for her represents the relaxing calm of night and dinner as well as a feminine connotation of change and connection.


9. Oyster Island Retreat on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast

The beauty of Oyster Island and the Sunshine Coast in general is a sensitive one, where rare trees grow resiliently and art thrives.


10. Omer Arbel’s Molecular Aesthetic

The Vancouver-based multidisciplinary creative heads a practice that cultivates a fluid position between the fields of design, invention, sculpture, and architecture.


11. Chef Virgilio Martínez Believes the Future of Fine Dining Is in the Hands of the Growers

What sets Virgilio Martínez apart is his effort to disrupt the problematic food systems that have left out the voices of the farmers. He focuses on sustainable practices that include minimizing food waste, sourcing ingredients seasonally, and employing indigenous and local growers.


12. Inhabiting the Language of Grief and Joy After Difficult Times

If healing lives in language, how do we parse curative words from this tangle of collective trauma—from any trauma? What is there to say in the face of so much sorrow?


13. Numeroventi, Where Collaborative Design Meets Florentine Splendour

Martino di Napoli Rampolla is the founder of Numeroventi, an arts and design residency housed in Palazzo Galli Tassi, a creative hub that connects Florence’s past to present.


14. Psychedelics Have Positively Impacted Mental Health in Canada—What Else Will They Change?

Long stigmatized, these substances are coming into the mainstream. We talk with the experts about the future of their recreational, therapeutic, and business potentials.


15. Chefs Answer the Common Question: Why Do So Many of Them Have Tattoos?

In the microcosm of a single kitchen, a larger sense of kinship can be felt. And for many chefs, tattoos are permanent markers of that identity.


16. The Many Identities of Brendan Fernandes

Merging the worlds of ballet, performance art, and counterculture, the Kenyan-born Indian-Canadian artist places community at the heart of his work by questioning the status quo and finding hope through resilience.


17. BlackCliff House by McLeod Bovell Modern Houses

For all the moments this house presents, though, the designers are interested in a material wholeness. Their signature monumental concrete plinths are grandiose.


18. On Laughter and Sadness: A Portrait of Hayley Law

The Vancouver-born actress and musician on the vulnerability of comedy, her affinity for indie films, and her future plans following the success of her breakout role on Riverdale.


19. Borgo Santo Pietro: A Bucolic Home Away From Home in the Tuscan Countryside

Borgo, as it’s called for short, certainly feels like paradise. And not just for the luxurious accommodations, which consist of 22 spacious rooms and suites in a soothing palette of neutrals and greens and travertine floors.


20. Pirelli Unveils “On the Road,” its 2022 Calendar Photographed by Bryan Adams

The 2022 edition, themed “On the Road,” stars some of the music industry’s biggest names, including Iggy Pop, Cher, Grimes, and Jennifer Hudson, with St. Vincent on the cover of the vinyl LP slipcase containing the 160-page calendar.


21. Shary Boyle Creates Art That Holds a Mirror to Audiences. What Is There to See?

Shary Boyle’s work has an uncanny ability to revolt and yet exude a sense of beauty.