Even though she’s found a home in design, Zoë Mowat had always planned on being a sculptor, like her mother. “I was drawn to the intimacy that’s possible with objects that you can hold and interact with directly,” she says. This intimacy comes across in the playfulness of her designs, which she connects to playing in her mother’s studio. Influenced by modernism, Mowat’s designs are based on graphic elements, with solid colours, stone, and abstract shapes channelled into everyday objects.
Based in Montreal, Mowat has drawn attention from the design and art worlds. Her Brush Study series takes inspiration from the minimalist aesthetic of the Shakers and was originally designed for Furnishing Utopia, a touring group exhibition. The specificity of rudimentary shapes and colours in compound ways illustrate the intersection between form and function so often talked about, but rarely achieved on such a level. While her newest work, Quarry Bowls, designed for the Portuguese brand Origin, is toned down compared to her early work, she doesn’t consider it much of a shift. “The pieces are more subtle than others I’ve done; however, they do reflect my tendency towards a graphic approach to materials,” she says. Mowat believes designers can be flexible as long as they put out designs that reflect their voice.
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