The Inn is at once radically contemporary
and resolutely traditional.
We use design as a tool to fortify
culture and place.
No opportunity was missed
to put love in the details…
to put Fogo Island in the details.
Fogo island Inn has an international reputation for exceptional, embodied, place-specific hospitality and bold, thoughtful, humanistic contemporary design.
Fogo Island Inn was designed by Newfoundland-born, Norway-based architect Todd Saunders. The 43,000 square-foot Inn is perched on stilts and hugs the North Atlantic coastline, affording all 29 suites with floor-to-ceiling views of sea and sky. All suites showcase the richness of their locality and clearly express a modern take on traditional Newfoundland outport design and décor. The Inn’s architecture is bold, optimistic, and distinctly of this place. Though radical in its design, the Inn still speaks to the traditional outport Newfoundland aesthetic.
Two floors of guest suites sit atop the Inn’s stilts, a distinct nod to traditional outport fishing stages. These stilts, or “shores,” underpin many of the buildings on Fogo Island due to the rocky, undulating topography. They support the Inn while also minimizing the overall building footprint and impact on the adjacent rocks, lichens, and berries. The Inn’s sharp angles and rough contours feel at home amidst Fogo Island’s jagged and uneven landscape.
The X-shaped structure features a two-storey west-to-east wing containing gathering spaces, and a four-storey South-West to North-East wing, parallel to the coast, containing all of the guest suites. The first floor includes the contemporary Art Gallery curated by Fogo Island Arts, the Dining Room, Bar, Lounge, and a Heritage Library containing works of both fiction and non-fiction pertaining to Newfoundland which is open to Inn guests as well as the local community of Fogo Island. The Cinema, Meeting Room, Gym, and Reading Room are located on the second floor, and the fourth floor roof deck houses wood-fired saunas and outdoor hot tubs.
Guest room sizes vary from 350 to 1 100 square feet, with suites on the third and fourth floors all including wood-burning stoves. The ceilings of the rooms on the fourth floor follow the dramatic slope of the roof, resulting in the three most easterly rooms enjoying double volume spaces with the sleeping area located on the mezzanine. Great care was taken to provide exceptional sound-proofing in order to ensure that guests hear only the sounds of nearby ocean waves. All of the Inn’s rooms were created using only natural materials such as wood, wool, cotton, and linen. The only plastic in the guest rooms is the telephone.
If the Inn is a ship, the dining room is its noble prow
One of the Inn’s most iconic spaces, the Dining Room features a dramatic vaulted ceiling and looks out over the ocean with views of the community of Barr’d Islands in the distance. Depending on the season, guests seated in the Dining Room can watch icebergs bobbing in the waves, whales breaching offshore, or enjoy a front-row view of a savage North Atlantic gale. The dining room’s distinctive chandeliers were conceived by Dutch designer Frank Tjepkema and feature a wildflower motif.
Fogo Island Inn’s kitchen and dining room are always hives of activity. The culinary team works around the clock to prepare and serve food and drink that showcases all the Island has to offer and see themselves as innkeepers: always available to satisfy the needs of guests with their distinct and delicious culinary offerings and unparalleled service standards. The kitchen is located adjacent to the dining room on the first floor of the Inn, with a separate pastry kitchen housed in the outbuilding across the southern courtyard.
The lounge is an intimate space where
guests can connect or cozy up to a
The lounge and bar areas feature a signature line of new Newfoundland cocktails which play off of longstanding traditions and combine them with new techniques. The Inn’s beverage team are constantly dreaming up new creations using the flavours of the Island: garnishes such as Fogo Island berries, juniper-infused syrup, and dried wildflower petals are often ready at hand. The bar carries almost any spirit you can imagine, including Newfoundland Screech, and cocktails can often be found shaken or stirred over iceberg ice depending on the season. The bar stocks a variety of beer and an extensive wine collection from the best Canadian wines to those originating from Fogo Island’s traditional trading partners such as Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal.
The bar features stools for people who don’t like stools: expertly crafted and shaped to provide optimal comfort and stability. Those seeking the softest in seated accommodations can kick back in the plush Eadie chair designed by Donna Wilson. In the evenings, the lounge and bar area are regularly adorned by local musicians singing traditional folk songs accompanied by gentle guitar or accordion. Guests are welcome to pick up the Inn’s guitar for a quick strum, or take a peek at the stars through the lounge telescope.
A library of all things Newfoundland.
Located on the first floor of the Inn, the library features an extensive collection of fiction and non-fiction works pertaining to the history and culture of Newfoundland and Canada and is available for use by Inn guests as well as the general public of Fogo Island. Many of the books in the library originated from the private collection of the late Dr. Leslie Harris, former president of Memorial University of Newfoundland. Dr. Harris possessed a superb personal collection of Newfoundlandia, including a wonderful range of materials pertaining to rural Newfoundland life, the fisheries, wildlife, and the sea.
The Inn’s collection was further expanded when Harry and Doreen Cuff added to the library by donating a copy of every book they published in their long history of publishing Newfoundland books through Harry Cuff Publications Limited. The resulting library is a rich and meaningful assemblage of works that can help orient guests to all that Fogo Island and Newfoundland have to offer.
Situated on the first floor, the library is cozy, comfortable, and contains one of the Inn’s six public wood-burning fireplaces. It is quiet and intimate, but also close enough to the front lobby to feel both hidden away and involved in the action of the Inn. There are always people coming and going in and around the library, and this movement serves as a reminder that the library is a public space that facilitates meaningful exchanges and relationships between local people and visitors.
Exhibitions at the Fogo Island Gallery feature new work by artists and curators who have participated in the Fogo Island Arts international residency program.
Fogo Island Inn features a contemporary “white cube” art gallery on the first floor, adjacent to the library. In collaboration with Fogo Island Arts, the gallery showcases the works of selected artists who have completed residencies on Fogo Island through Fogo Island Arts. The goal of the public gallery is to provide diverse audiences – local and global – with opportunities to engage with contemporary artworks informed by the specificities of place.
Thus far, Fogo Island Gallery has presented solo exhibitions by Kate Newby (New Zealand), Zin Taylor (Canada), Silke Otto-Knapp (Vienna), Hannah Rickards (England), Edgar Leciejewski (Germany), Leander Schönweger (Italy) and Wilfrid Almendra (France). Exhibitions in the gallery are accompanied by a publication focusing on each artist’s work, produced by Fogo Island Arts and Berlin’s Sternberg Press.
The 37-seat Fogo Island Inn cinema is a partnership with The National Film Board of Canada.
Designed by Nick Herder, Fogo Island Inn’s 37-seat cinema features a state-of-the-art digital projection and sound system. The idea to have a cinema in the Inn was precipitated by Fogo Island’s longstanding relationship with the National Film Board. There were many great films in the NFB’s collection that dealt with Fogo Island, including the Fogo Process films, but no cinema on the Island until the opening of the Inn. The cinema was imagined by designer Nick Herder as a foreign space within the building: it is one of the few spaces without a reference point back to the island, besides the history of film itself. It was initially inspired by classic Art Deco-style movie houses but adapted to fit within the contemporary design of the Inn.
The “The Magic Picture Box” cinema is an independent box that sits within the greater building, and is literally built as a black box sitting inside of the Inn’s generally white space. Inside, the painted white wood finishes of the surrounding building seep into the cinema but fade to black in frames that wrap continuously around the room. The softer black frames increase, expand, and completely envelope the room at the front of the space to finally frame the projection screen. A red staircase, seats, and curtain carry you through the space in “red carpet” style.
The cinema doubles as lecture theatre, and presents daily scheduled programming as well as impromptu special film showings and presentations. Regularly scheduled programming typically includes documentaries chronicling resettlement, rural life, craftsmanship, and culture. The Inn’s collection includes classic NFB documentaries, films about Fogo Island, as well as a healthy collection of crowd-pleasing contemporary blockbusters and cult classics.
If you’re going to go off site, go off site.
The meeting room is located on the second floor of the Inn and represents a rejection of all things routine and ordinary in the realm of meeting spaces. The meeting room is multi-functional and has been employed for every type of event from concerts to corporate retreats. Offering similarly stunning ocean views to those of the Inn’s guest rooms, the meeting room is a great place for talking, thinking, collaborating, and celebrating.
Features of the room include an oversized wooden meeting table equipped with a conference telephone, in-ceiling projection screen with projector available for use, comfortable chairs, banquet seating overlooking the dining room, a grand piano, a wood-burning fireplace, and windows that open onto the shoreline. Seating is more than suitable for a long day of work and there are plenty of spots with small tables to break away as smaller groups. There is also a cozier, more intimate reading room located down the hall from the meeting room, behind the cinema. The reading room can be reconfigured for various purposes and features a large window which looks into the art gallery below.
You don’t often see saunas in Newfoundland, but it suits this place.
The fourth floor rooftop deck houses the Inn’s wood-fired saunas and two outdoor hot tubs. Once the decision was made to build the sauna on the rooftop, there was no reason to reinvent a longstanding Northern European tradition. We learned from the best and hired Sami Rintala and Dagur Eggertsson, two Northern European architects based in Norway, to design the saunas. Because sauna culture is new to Fogo Island, the design needed to feel intuitive. We outlined the experience as a set of easy steps. Step one: you walk in, take off clothes and put on robe. Step two: take a shower. Step three: take a sauna. Step four: cool off and maybe head outside to the hot tubs to watch the sea and stars.
The south-facing saunas receive direct sunlight into the cabinet with inland views of the rocks, churches, and the local artisan guild. The sauna to the north has views of the sea and is a great way to take in the landscape or to stargaze.
Located at the end of the roof deck, the Inn’s two hot tubs afford both privacy and stunning views of the North Atlantic. Stargaze with uninterrupted views of the ocean over your shoulder and of the sky above you.
The Inn’s second floor gym includes treadmills, elliptical machines, and weight-training equipment. The gym also features floor space for yoga and pilates, fitness mats, and two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the coastline and, in the distance, the community of Barr’d Islands.