Filter, at 75 Jarvis Street, sells well-designed, carefully chosen furniture and decorative pieces for your home. Did I mention It's all vintage stuff? Did I have to?
Design stores are an odd category, rather like music stores. It's an even split between shops that sell new product and shops that sell vintage stuff. Like music, what matters most is that it's cool - not when it was made. That having been said, Filter is like a time machine - except it only goes back.
A store like Filter works because there are real people behind it, carefully sourcing and choosing the pieces that go on display. I go to stores like this because someone smart has sourced a collection of cool stuff that's for sale, and I really like cool stuff. For example, a vintage railway crossing sign that relies on marbles embedded in the metal to create a cat's eye reflective effect for oncoming cars. (sold, $795.00).
This whole finding and collecting stuff thing is way, way harder than it looks. Toronto is a big city with lots of designers and clients - there is no shortage of customers for this kind of smart retro. No, the shortage is in the cool retro stuff - stuff that doesn't just come from another time zone, it comes from another time. The products on display are not chosen out of a catalogue and ordered and delivered. No, they are sought out, fought for, cleaned, restored, and transported across North America.
Filter's Mike and Amy Mason (the same owners as the Queen West Antique Centre) claim that traveling around the continent with your family searching for antiques is actually fun! I find that hard to believe mostly because it makes me totally jealous.
I really liked a smartly designed Heywood-Lakefield desk from the 50's that uses a paired down tubular skeleton as both its frame and drawer slides ($1450.00). A huge stainless steel "Broadway" sign removed from a bar car down in the States appealed to my sign making aesthetic ($995.00) - as some of you know - I make signs.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak