September 23/2023

“Elucida” interview

  • “Elucida”, a featured installation of Nuit Blanche, saw a unique collaboration between EQ3 and the Faculty of Architecture at U of M.

    Nuit Blanche sat down with both revered teams post festival to hear their impressions of how the installation and collaboration went.

    NBW & EQ3

    NBW: Eq3 has supported Nuit Blanche Winnipeg for several years, it feels great to be supported by a local company that aligns with us on the importance of contemporary design. Is there a particular aspect of our local festival that you feel is a good fit for your company? 

    EQ3: At EQ3, we consider ourselves perpetual students, keeping curious by looking at where culture, art, and design is headed. We feel Nuit Blanche perpetuates this curiosity, and we love the platform you give to local artists, performers, galleries, and cultural organizations to host their own events around our home city—teaching us new things and inspiring creativity. 

    NBW: Speaking of local support, we have noticed Winnipeg’s EQ3 has moved into new markets, can you tell us a little bit about how your local company is expanding?

    EQ3: EQ3 now has 15 stores spanning across Canada and the United States. We’ve been able to integrate ourselves into different communities, learning and growing with them to better our design process and understand what our customers want and need. Two of our largest stores are in New York City and here in our hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. We also have 4 showrooms in Quebec. All of these different markets inspire us in different ways, and we are so grateful to have our designs invited into peoples homes, wherever they may live. 

    NBW: When the EQ3 team first saw the Biom_Labs “Elucida” mock ups and proposal, what was your initial reaction? What attracted your team to work with this installation? The unique materials created by the Biom_lab team? The location selected for the art work? Or just the general aesthetic of the installation?

    EQ3:The apparent passion and true interest Biom_Lab has for their research and their love for sharing that with our community drew us to work with them for their vibrant Nuit Blanche 2022 installation. We were intrigued by the low energy, low waste, and new opportunities for design and architecture shown through their process of retrieving Bacterial Cellulose. Their installation was a marriage of light, shape, colour, and visual interest—a true work of craft by passionate people, something we can relate to at EQ3. 

    NBW: How did you like seeing your product in the middle of a bike path downtown with 30,000 art lovers walking by? Did this uncommon placement spark any new ideas for future designs? Did it cause you to reflect on your initial design of the products displayed at NBW 2022?

    EQ3:We’ve always been inspired by the power of togetherness. We can only hope our designs acted as a way for our community to comfortably indulge in Biom_Lab’s installation, taking in the beauty and complexity of their research shown through art, design, and real-time interaction. Seeing people familiarize themselves with our materials, and settle comfortably within them, inspires us to continue creating timeless designs that can become permanent fixtures in the background to their most cherished memories.  

    NBW: As EQ3 expands, are there any new directions for your design aesthetic? How much do contemporary art installations, exhibits in galleries affect your design process? 

    EQ3: The EQ3 design aesthetic is continuously evolving. In upcoming seasons, our priority is to bring warmth to our customers’ homes. We will be focusing on softer, organic shapes and using a variety of natural materials to encourage more undone and inviting spaces, while keeping the common thread and focus of crafting timeless designs our community can love forever. Inspiration can come from anywhere and art is such a great resource for new ideas, especially when it comes to working with more free-form shapes and putting together colour palettes for upcoming collections.

    NBW & BIOM_lab

    NBW: The snow is flying and we are still warmly reminiscing about your installation “Elucida”!
    How did you feel after the event? Did seeing nearly 30,000 people walk through and interact with your installation change your perception of the installation?

    BIOM_lab: The whole BIOM_Lab team felt overwhelmed by the warming response from the public. We had the chance to talk to Winnipeggers and visitors in general and the feedback that we received was very encouraging and supportive. The experience helped us feel more confident about the public’s perception of our research work.

    NBW: In your proposal you mentioned “this project aims to enhance the ambiance of a space by introducing colours through the dyeing of Bacterial Cellulose membranes.” Do you feel “Elucida” was successful in creating an ambient space?

    BIOM_lab: Our general feeling was that we managed to deliver on that promise. The dyed bacterial cellulose in the dark and vegetated environment of Stephen Juba Park was the perfect combination to show the texture and translucent properties of the biomaterial, as well as to create a warm atmosphere conductive to cheerful conversations among the public.

    NBW:

    When we suggested you work with sponsor EQ3, there seemed to be a lot of synergy.
    How do you feel having furniture, a seated area and mixing your installation with EQ3’s
    product enhanced “Elucida”? Do you feel the unique materials created for this work will
    have a life in the private sector one day?

    BIOM_lab: We were positively surprised by the effect of EQ3’s outdoor furniture in the installation. The low chairs on charcoal and green tones mingled perfectly with the Park’s green space and offered the visitors a perfect place to relax and observe the bacterial cellulose lamps in more detail. We are convinced that this biomaterial, and many other, will become soon an important part of our economy, not only because of their environmental and aesthetic properties, but also because the Nuit Blanche exhibition helped us confirm that the public is ready for these biomaterials.

    NBW: What’s next for the Biom_lab and this friendly bacteria? We hope we can see it again!

    Our next projects include the construction of a biomaterial-dome to test bacterial cellulose and mycelium-based products under Winnipeg’s harsh Winter conditions. We are also studying physical and hygrothermal properties of these materials to have a better understanding of their potential in an architectural setting. We are engaging with artists and designers locally and internationally to explore morphological and performative opportunities of working with biomaterials in outer space. We will be organizing workshops to invite more students and the public in general to learn about biomaterials. And we are looking forward to engaging with researchers, designers and local communities that would like to visit the BIOM_Lab and work with us.

    “Elucida” by Biom Lab, photo: Adam Kelly NBW 2022