Avenue Road is a palatial furniture and home decor store located, oddly enough, on Eastern Avenue . I don't use the word palatial lightly. And, forgive the superlatives in this post, but they are warranted.
This magnificent heritage building was built for the Consumers Gas Company. In its last incarnation, it was home to an Asian language newspaper, complete with all its printing presses. Now, Yabu Pushelberg has stripped it to its fundamentals, and wisely opened up the space as
much as possible. The second floor of the building is a jaw-dropping, block long, cathedral space. It really is like nothing I've ever seen devoted to retail sales before - only churches, museums, or airports have this kind of space. Currently, the room provides a backdrop to the store's outdoor collection and some stunning map-based room dividers from Toronto's own Moss & Lam .
The fit and finish of the furniture in this three story mecca is unparalleled. These pieces are made from the finest materials, assembled by the most skilled crafts people from around the planet. And, accordingly, it shows in the prices.
The effect of entering such a stunning building, devoid of almost any signage inside or out, and no prices visibly displayed, is quite intimidating. In fact, when I first walked in, the receptionist was away from her desk, and I thought I'd perhaps wandered into a private home or office, instead of a store. It wasn't long before some friendly staff appeared and put me at ease, but it was still another twenty minutes before I gathered the courage to actually touch anything. Seriously. Such is the exquisite level of the works on display.
The first thing I did touch, Tobias Grau's Teatime lamp, rewarded my curiosity by affirming that this was the real deal. A small raised dot of wood in the perfect chrome finish was in fact the on/off switch. Nothing less than this perfect touch would seem appropriate ($1,061).
Another outstanding example of design here is Canadian Jacques Guillions' Cord Chair. The exclusive re-issue of this classic is available in several finishes ($995).
The store's naturally-lit basement holds yet more riches: the stunning collection of rugs from The Rug Company , featuring such noted designers as Vivienne Westwood, Diane Von Furstenburg, and Paul Smith. The quantity, quality, and range of designs is impressive. Many of these are now on the top of my wish list, but I'll probably have to settle for a slightly more affordable pillow ($300).
I have one more addition to my wish list - the stunning and elegant Dinamarquesa chair by Jorge Zalszupin ($5442). I'll be going back to Avenue Road just to visit it.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak