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One of the most influential figures in Canadian furniture, writes Matthew Hague, is a 30-year-old Winnipegger

Thom Fougere has a powerful position within the Canadian design world.

EQ3 is focused on affordability. Handout.

As the creative director of Winnipeg-based furniture company EQ3, Thom Fougere has a powerful position within the Canadian design world. The brand he helms is available across the country (a rarity for a domestic outfit), so his work helps steer the direction of our national aesthetic. And because EQ3 is focused on affordability, it's more likely that people will be able to accent their homes with his work.

Setting the tone for interiors is a responsibility that Fougere takes seriously. "Making a Canadian design statement is something I think a lot about, actually," he says. "As a country, we have a distinct heritage. But, maybe because we are so geographically broad, we don't have a cohesive design language. We are still searching for what that is."

EQ3 is available across the country. Handout.

Such consideration is admirable given Fougere's age. Now 30, he ascended to his post at just 24, soon after he graduated from the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Architecture. "At school I found that I was gravitating toward working at a smaller scale and getting really excited about product design," he says, explaining why he ended up designing angular armchairs, clean-lined consoles and playful umbrella stands, and not buildings. The first thing he did when he joined EQ3 was rebrand the company, reworking all of its stores and graphics. "I had worked at a branding agency for a year," he says, "so I had a graphic design and branding background as well."

Fougere is mum on the brand's future, simply promising to "continue pushing the limits" of what can be made with a broader market in mind. Undoubtedly, Canadian design will be the better for it.

The first thing Fougere did when he joined EQ3 was rebrand the company.

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