EQ3 (Liberty Village)
EQ3 (Liberty Village) has thrown itself into the Liberty Village furniture battle. With Casalife and West Elm already battling to deck out those Liberty Village one-bedroom-plus-dens, EQ3 unveiled its two-storey showroom just one week ago.
This is EQ3's second Toronto location, with its first over on King East that opened several years ago. This EQ3, however, has the added aesthetic bonus of occupying a 100-year-old former distillery, with the modern convenience (and perhaps slight tackiness) of an escalator carrying customers to the second floor.
But the most noteworthy aspect of this new location of the Winnipeg-based furniture company is its "store in a store" concept (or, at least, that's what EQ3 is calling it). The concept revolves around the company's partnership with Finnish design house Marimekko, which features textiles and products in colourful prints and bold designs. The Marimekko section of EQ3 Liberty Village is, essentially, the "store in a store," offering Marimekko duvet covers ($149), mugs ($22), and fabric by the yard. You can even find paper napkins with Marimekko's notorious Unikko print ($6.95) — talk about indulgent dining.
The rest of the first floor is stocked with small home essentials, including products from EQ3's new BASICS line (geared to budget-conscious first-time homeowners, no doubt) and selections from partnering brands such as Alessi, Vitra, Herman Miller, and Stelton. And Eames, of course, with that bold plastic elephant ($390) sitting proudly on display.
But in my opinion, EQ3's design aesthetic shines in its second-floor stock. These pieces — the fabric James rocker ($499), the Honeycomb ottoman ($179), the teak wood stools ($199) — were surely created with small spaces in mind, but don't skimp in terms of flair and functionality. Nearly all of the sectionals and sofas have low backs so as not to dominate cramped quarters, and many pieces have been designed with extra storage in mind.
Since most pieces can be customized in terms of material and colour (80 fabrics, 41 leathers, and 19 accent fabrics), the upper level of EQ3 also boasts a swatch wall of sorts to help customers envision that "Mollie" chair in Cayman Slate.
But it's the lighting section that keeps me occupied throughout most of my visit (the most brilliant section) with all types of globe and block options at surprisingly affordable prices. For instance: the marble-base Cast floor lamp — which, granted, isn't the most unique design — is priced at a pretty decent $200. Or 28 packs of Marimekko paper napkins, to put it another way.
And if those lights down quite have you seeing stars, there's the custom-built 40' x 35' lighting installation in store that will surely brighten your visit.
Photos by Morris Lum