Fogo Island Inn: New Ways in an Old Community

Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Architecture, Todd Saunders

The Fogo Island Inn is a public building for Fogo Islanders with 29 rooms for guests varying in size from 300 to 1,100 square feet. Located between the communities of Joe Batt’s Arm and Barr’d Islands and facing the North Atlantic, the 40,000 square foot inn and 6,000 square foot outbuilding is an “X” in plan: a two storey volume, running East to West, and containing the majority of the building’s public spaces and a longer four storey volume, running South-­‐West to North–‐East, containing the guest suites and other intimate spaces and is parallel to the coast.

Because it is of this place; we are finding new ways in an old community. Specifically, the design plays up the natural features of Fogo Island and the ingenuity of our people who have lived off the unforgiving North Atlantic ocean for over 400 years.

The two story Dining Room features floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the unwavering North Atlantic Ocean and custom rope chandeliers -designed by Frank Tjepkema and Marion Isaert from Tjep and made on-site by Tjep with local assistance from Fogo Island Community Members. The custom tiled masonry bread oven located between the lounge and restaurant was built by Alex Chernov of Stovemaster to offer our chefs the ability to recreate traditional recipes. The Fireplace in Lounge/Bar area pays homage to the traditional wood stoves found in our ancestor’s home and offers our guests a comfortable and calm space to interact with peers or unwind alone.

The main area of the first floor showcases quarter sawn yellow birch floor as well as black spruce walls and ceilings; crafted from materials sourced on the main island of Newfoundland. The wall sconces in this area were designed by Studiomama and built locally by Aidan and Dominic Penton.

One of the most unique aspects of our dining room is the custom designed storage space for our many Fogo Island preservatives, locally sourced and foraged produce in-house grown herbs.

The design of our menu is as innovative as the design of our building. Our culinary team is taking Newfoundland cuisine in a new direction; finding inspiration in where we live, ingredients grown on the island and time-honoured traditions learned from our ancestors. Like the outport aesthetic of the Inn, the provenance of our food is local and regional. The execution is both traditional and modern.


Fogo Island Inn, submitted by the Shorefast Foundation was shortlisted for the design et al International Design & Architecture Awards – Restaurant within a Hotel award 2013.