I think it's a rule that names rarely reflect reality. I mean, The Democratic People's Republic of North Korea is not exactly the shining star of freedom that the name implies. I saw a dog named Scruffy once, and it was impeccably groomed. So knowing how things are named, I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was when I walked into Industrial Storm.
I was expecting lots of metal and bits of machinery and ultra-modern design. Instead, I found a relatively conventional, tastefully decorated warehouse-style space with carefully chosen sample pieces and a big potential inventory of custom work.
They do most of their business with the "trade", meaning with designers and interior decorators. They have no problem working with the public, though, and they'll take the time to talk to a potential customer about quality and craftsmanship.
They tend to try to educate customers, the sales staff told me, because they won't dumb down what they do to appeal to a broader market. They go so far as to bring in designers from New York and L.A. sometimes for shows and seminars.
They don't have much on the floor for you to take away. You have to wait 10-12 weeks to actually get anything. "If you want quick", one salesperson said, "go to Ikea." The whole point of this place is to make things fresh for you. Local manufacturers and craftspeople supply Industrial Storm with a good variety in the way of tables and upholstered seating. And these people know what they're talking about. They have access to most of the best materials. Have no illusions, though: quality costs.
According to the sales person I spoke with, there's absolutely nothing in this store from China. Everything is made by Canadian artists. What's impressive about this claim is that this appears to be true. I didn't find any of the common imports that are flooding the Toronto market.
The range of fabrics they've collected is impressive. What's good about this particular place is that the staff actually seem to know what they're talking about, which is pretty darned rare in custom furniture places, where mostly they just want to see the money. And these people have taste. If you ask them, they'll tell you what they think, and invariably they give reasonably good advice. I'm guessing they've seen a lot of customer demands, and they've learned through hard experience what makes people happy.
Of course, you have to want something that they have. What they have is a lot of very straight lines, almost geometric design and just a touch of froo-froo. The underlying theme seems to be shapes, and it's clear that they like to mix them up in here. There are triangles, squares, circles and cones, and lots and lots of angles. It's not exactly subtle, but it definitely blends in.
One thing that struck me was the scale of almost everything they do here. There are some pieces that might fit into a smaller condo, but not much. Wall units and mirrors can probably be made smaller, but most of what they had on display looked like it was meant to go into monster homes in Markham. The one exception to this rule was the lighting. It was perfectly designed for modernish downtown condos, and I suspect this might be where much of it goes.
The lighting was interesting, and showed an Asian influence. It had some mild Arts-and-Crafts and Art Deco sensibility about it, too. All of these forms blend pretty naturally. The Asian influence pops out now and then in other items. The traditional Asian paper doors on one cabinet and the clean lines sported by most of the tables give the general impression that someone was cooking up Italian design and sprinkled in some Japanese and Chinese for seasoning. The geometric shapes add to this feeling.
Industrial Storm is a fairly good resource for custom tables and they've got a good selection of clean, tasteful lighting. But it's all custom work, so don't expect any discounts.