Sunday, August 30, 2015Cloudy 20°C
Design Stores

Atomic Design

Posted by Ian Milne / Posted on May 28, 2010

Atomic DesignAtomic Design on West Queen West is the bomb. (Forgive me, I had to.) I had no idea what to expect from this little store the first time I stopped by. I was more than a little surprised when I walked in and saw all the classic mid-century modern lamps, clocks, chairs, and art.

Atomic DesignAll in pretty much mint condition, with each piece restored to glory by the shop's owner, Lawrence Blairs, in his workshop. I had to resist the urge to put that last sentence in ALL CAPS. I love mid-century modern design, and finding a room full of it makes me very happy indeed. The fact that it's all clean, working, and for sale is enough to make my head explode.

Atomic DesignThe period and style in question is loosely defined - much easier to spot than describe. It usually includes bright colours, clean lines, and visually simple functionality.  It's never beige, difficult or clunky.

I saw a vintage Braun coffee grinder ($130.00), a steal from a design period when clean and powerful trumped cheap and cute. A small collection of very pretty jewelry is, it turns out, expertly chosen.

I was most intrigued by a perfectly proportioned stainless steel digital clock ($700.00), that turns out to have come from Pearson Airport in the 70's.

Atomic DesignAtomic DesignIf you are a fan of Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange," then you will revel in the opportunity to re-create the film's sets in your own home.  Actually, many specialty antique stores make a bit of money on the side by renting pieces out to decorate film sets - Atomic is no exception.

It's a well known fact that every interior designer, architect and industrial designer has "set decorator" on their dream jobs list. And speaking of second jobs, Mr. Blairs has a degree in Gemology, a career he forsook for the dream job of curating (and restoring) these impeccable antiques.

Atomic DesignAtomic DesignAtomic DesignAtomic Design

Photos by Jason Tavares



DomPro / May 30, 2010 at 11:05 pm
Excellent find and great post. The shop looks like its filled with lots of cool stuff; have to check it out sometime, thanks!
Ben / June 3, 2010 at 08:13 am
We picked up a fantastic lamp from Lawrence and stayed to chat with him for at least 30 minutes about what he does and his store. Truly a remarkable little place - hats off!
Pendar / August 16, 2010 at 02:57 pm
I stumbled across this store while going out for a stroll during a break from work. On that day the store was only open by appointment only, but when Lawrence saw me at the door he came and opened the door for me and told me I could browse if I want to.

He was very friendly and extremely polite, and took time away from what he was doing to explain the pieces and just chat about what he does.

I didn't buy anything that time, but I'm definitely going back with my Fiance. Highly recommended.
jay / July 1, 2012 at 03:27 pm
Fun and edgy... reasonably priced quality items. Friendly owner.

When I'm in the mood for vintage - this is where I get my fix!

Add a Comment


Find a Design Store

Or use the options below to assist you in locating a Design Store in Toronto.

Search Results

Please select criteria from the dropdown menus above to start your search.


Recent Reviews

Refine the list using the categories below:

Other Cities: Montreal