In 1910 Ed Wahl arrived on Ellis Island from Norway. He traveled North and settled in a mild and resource-rich area on the BC coast. Raised on a coastal farm, he possessed the know-how common amongst early settlers. He built a fishing boat and became a fisherman. After the first season he sold his boat and built another. Fishing with a new boat each season allowed Wahl to develop the design of his boats. For several years he would sell his boat at the end of season and the next winter build another, making slight alterations based on what he had learned from the previous boat. He was able to test hull shapes this way to ensure stability, seaworthiness, and speed while maintaining beautiful lines.
We talk about molo’s products in the same way: a subtle evolution of a relatively static object – not given towards the trend of the yearly releases of a new and completely different design. Evolution comes with the study of an object and similar to Wahl’s boats, we periodically find a new departure.
Over time, Wahl found that learning about different types of fishing led to the design of different types of boats. In turn, these boats were able to better serve the different types of small scale commercial fishing. This cycle of designing, building, fishing and testing boats carried on for many years. In time, boat building turned into a full time business that carried on for three generations. The last boat was launched in the 1990s and, apart from additional technology, looked very similar to the first set of production boats.
We made the decision to settle in Vancouver to focus on our own work and to discover the incredible surrounding wilderness; what seems like the last vestiges – an untouched natural setting. Just as art and design give us the opportunity to see things in a different light, taking part and experiencing these natural places influence our way of thinking and the way we design objects to enhance simple everyday experience.
The pictures of fishing boats are from a recent trip to Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The picture above was taken inside an old wood tugboat that we have been staying on as a way to study the use of space and the way the boat’s deck connects the interior spaces as well as connecting one to the outdoors.
All of these experiences are about enriching overall experience and better understanding the things we enjoy most – design of space and enhancing simple everyday rituals. Surfing and paddling in places like Ucluelet and Tofino have allowed us to go deeper into the experience. When you go out into the ocean in a winter storm and surf until your body is exhausted it makes the simple act of bathing, eating, reading or sleeping that much more intense.