Klaus by Nienkamper
Klaus by Nienkamper, on the east end of the design corridor along King East, is a chic, sophisticated showroom of modern furniture and hip design elements. The store feels like the kind of place where all the Dwell subscribers and decorators shop. Even if it's not in the budget to buy a high-end designer sofa, it sure is fun to look at them and dream.
Taking up multiple, but sometimes small levels, the store itself has kind of a fun history. According to the Klaus website, the showroom used to be a former grocery store constructed in 1845. Klaus Nienkamper, the founder, purchased the space in the 1960s, and a decade later the showroom was already a happening place for designers, architects and style mavens to shop, party and mingle.
Many of the pieces at Klaus are that solid mix of stylish and practical. I spent quite a bit of time admiring the Patricia Urquiola "Field" sofa ($18,850). The sofa is soft, modular, incredibly comfortable and sophisticated.
Downstairs at Klaus, I also had a lot of fun sitting on all the different benches, stools and side chairs. I get a kick out of the fact that so many different styles and designs can be created out of four (or three) legs. My favourite was the Tom Dixon off cut stool, created from irregular parts of discarded wood, available in natural ($355) or "fluoro" ($375).
Klaus boasts that they are Toronto's exclusive retailer for European manufacturers such as Artifort, e15, Moooi, Moroso, Tom Dixon and Daniel Libeskind - yes, the guy who designed the ROM extension. The showroom mixes and matches many of these pieces in a way that emphasizes how complimentary everything is to each other. I liked that the space felt comfortable, lived-in even, and I could see why designers have been coming here for decades.
It's not very often that modern, contemporary furniture can be called warm, but in some ways that exactly what Klaus represents. With the kind of history and experience behind Klaus by Nienkamper, it's easy to get caught up in the passion and love for contemporary design. During my recent visit, the sales staff were very friendly, happy and eager to show off their collection and the store itself was a breeze to walk through and admire.