72 HRS ON FOGO ISLAND

Life is a homecoming. It’s going back to some thing, or some place, or feeling that you left behind.

Fogo Island is a remote yet accessible outpost off the North East coast of Newfoundland and a foundation for the Fogo Island Inn; a social enterprise established to revive a community that was once supported entirely by a cod fishery that no longer exists. Designed by architect Todd Saunders and the brain child of Zita Cobb, daughter of a Fogo Island fisherman, the Inn is a social business and a community asset. Every dollar made here is invested back into the community through projects and programs operated by the Shorefast Foundation.

I have been aware of the Inn for a few years, but more for design reasons than the ethos behind the enterprise. I'd seen images shared on Instagram and write ups on architectural websites. I had even written a blog post about one of the artist studios myself, but it's the the thought processes at work here that really hit home following my visit over the summer. Guided by history, environment, a sense of place and the arts, it's a stunning realisation that successfully wraps Fogo's identity, culture and traditions into a building that reaches far into the future and out across the world. 

"I started to realise that things that give me joy are things that are deeply specific to this place. I think as we’ve all rushed head-first into the digital age, relationships have become broken between people and natural place; people and community; people and things; all these things just become broken because we’ve retreated from the natural world, into the digital world. 

Business is a wonderful and a terrible master. So I was thinking how much better we’d be, all of us in the world, if at the centre of every decision we made—whether a person, a company or a government—if we put place at the centre of it, and we all conducted ourselves in a manner that’s good for place, that’s going to be good for community, because communities are attached to places."  

Zita Cobb, Inn Keeper

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