Local furniture designer finds inspiration in northern nature.
Walking along the tip of Baffin Island, local designer Tim Antoniuk discovered inspiration for his latest furniture collection, Question Objects. Teaming up with Droog – a renowned Dutch design group – and a few other influential designers, he set off on a 10-day excursion to hunt for original design concepts, exploring the often-unseen beauty of northern Canada.
“You’d see nothingness, kind of forever, then a little spring flower or a bone would pop up, or a huge vertebrae of a whale,” says Antoniuk. “Finding these little gems up there would constantly take us by surprise.”
He incorporated surprise elements into his latest collection; one dresser appears to consist of only six drawers, until you pull them open and discover three hidden, private compartments.
Antoniuk showcased his collection in Toronto and received requests from all over North America.
He now finds himself searching for fine craftsmen to help him meet the increasing demand. He can no longer manage it all on his own, dedicating an average of 20 hours to each individual piece in his collection.
The name, Question Objects, is a philosophical label intended to encourage people to question what they buy and where the items come from.
“I use one product, a cool oil- and wax-based finish, from Germany because it’s the best in the world; otherwise I use all locally sourced material [from North America],” says Antoniuk.
After owning a contemporary design company in the mid ’90s, called Hothouse, with two retail stores in Edmonton and one in Calgary, he became aware of the downfalls of production away from home.
“So much is off-shored; I’ve done that and I know how to but logistically it can be kind of a nightmare,” says Antoniuk. “At times, you get really crappy product caused by an emotional and physical distance.”
After selling his Hothouse shares in 2002, he taught furniture design at the University of Alberta. Still teaching, his latest side project has been collaborating with eight other authors, contributing to the book, Design in Alberta.
The Question Objects collection can be ordered online, personally through email or found at the company’s main retailer, Urban Mode, in Toronto. Antoniuk is collaborating with a company in Edmonton to make his designs available here, but nothing is finalized as of yet.
Referring to his work as objects of expression, his collection is complete with three diverse lines, all influenced by the natural world.