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Design Stores

Morba

Posted by Craig / Posted on July 24, 2008

MorbaIt's a furniture store. No, it's a home design store. No, wait - it's a furniture and home design store on drugs, a lot of different drugs at the same time.

It's an Everything Store for the Design-Conscious. The only connection between most of the stuff for sale in Morba is that it will seriously funk you up. It's actually possible to O.D. on Cool in Morba. This space is so crammed that they even have chairs hanging from the ceiling and walls.

This is the Toronto haven for Scandinavian mid-century design, with plenty of inexpensive reproductions to keep you from going bankrupt too quickly. "Morba" may sound like the bad guy from a 1930's Flash Gordon serial, but it's actually syllables from the two owner's names. Still, I like to think that if Flash-Gordon's arch-nemesis "Morba" retired, he might open this kind of place.

MorbaMorba is where Toronto's lighting goes to be seen. Every weird lamp ever created must be stashed somewhere in this packed warehouse / lounge. There are orbital clouds of original Le Klint white hanging lamps for $275-500, all of them hand-made in Denmark. But there's more.
MorbaI found silver bubble lamps for $79, funky desk things, globular glowy things, organic shiny objects that look like they were designed by enthusiastic microorganisms, curlicues, pods, Japanese lanterns, multicoloured bubbles, lamps with protuberances, orange lamps, pseudopods, and even a flock of soaring dragonfly lamps with glowing heads. Some of the lamps are even made in Canada. I didn't know we were that interesting.
MorbaChairland makes its contribution, too. Barstools hovered two metres above me, from about $100-300 each. There was a lot of really rad seating for the right repose--like, dig it, man. The repro designs rocket to Earth straight from the inner beatnik within all of us. Why not get a George Nelson bubble sofa for $1189 resplendent in orange and purple leather? There are bent metal chairs, lattice seats, loungers, swivel chairs, rockers, a hanging acrylic bubble chair (try getting up there to test it out), and everything the Plastic Age could make. If life-size is too big for your apartment, there are exact replicas in micro versions. You can get that bubble sofa for only $14.95, if you don't mind it being 10 cm tall.
MorbaClocks, clocks, clocks, what would we do if we couldn't keep track of time and say it in a zillion ways. If the lighting is out of this world, the clocks are from some other galaxy. I'd say that at least they all had faces, or displays, but some of them disturbingly didn't.

They have vintage furniture. Most of it was airdropped in from the 1940-60's and has "Bungalow" written in capital letters all over it. I won't easily forget the circa 1943 Westinghouse exercise bicycle. Morba once rented it to Holt Renfrew for a window display. It's huge, an ancient cast-iron behemoth, from a time when "portable" meant "a whole bunch of guys with a forklift can move it if you really need to". It has an overpowered electric motor, and when the guy turned it on, the electromagnetic hum and flailing handlebars inspired me with images of housewives with big hair in curling irons working out while wearing horn-rimmed glasses and watching I Dream of Genie in between commercials for dish soap and boat-shaped cars. But it was shiny and I wanted to take it home. Alas, even at $695, I had nowhere to put it.
MorbaI met vases, glasses, accents, and objects d'art (or maybe just plain old objets). Some of the glass stuff had slinky shiny metal friends who came along for the party.
MorbaMorba sells bugs encased in plastic, which I personally think is more than a little bit gruesome, but I guess preserved beetles with massive yawning jaws might have a place somewhere. But if actual dead insects in plastic are too realistic (or not realistic enough), there are also Anatomical Model Kits in Full Colour for only $47. What 12 year-old wouldn't want an anatomically correct model of Insert Animal Here, say a snail? They even have a mammoth. Given that mammoths have been extinct for over 10,000 years, I wonder how they modeled the model. And if whole dissected plastic animals don't catch your fancy, they have Bitz, organs and parts that can be assembled from 30 odd pieces for your educational amazement and the freaking out of your friends.

It's amazing they don't charge admission.
Morba


Discussion

14 Comments

pissed off / September 14, 2009 at 11:16 pm
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Don't shop at this store, don't waste your time or money.
friendlyrice / September 20, 2009 at 07:03 pm
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always passed this store while it was closed but finally went in when open and was amazed by some of the pieces they carry, some of which were featured in some design mags that i was looking at to furnish my home.

impressed of all the pieces available.
thefriendlyshopper / June 18, 2010 at 04:43 pm
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Nice store. Great selection. A little pricey.
fred / September 12, 2010 at 02:28 pm
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Nice shop ! "It's amazing they don't charge admission." You canadian like to pay for everything that is/should be free !
Tom / December 5, 2011 at 11:03 am
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Shopped here a couple of times, they have some cool stuff but be careful, a lot of things are grossly overpriced. I made the mistake of buying some Eames style Eiffel tower chairs from them. They were around $120~, which I figured wasn't terrible, until I saw the chrome legged version (like we got) being sold for around $50 at Kitchen Stuff Plus. At the end of the day they are both knock-offs, so look around before you buy here.
Sam / December 6, 2011 at 05:21 pm
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I was looking around for the Eames style dowel chairs trying to find the best prices and colours. After reading Tom's post I decided to check out Kitchen Stuff Plus. After phoning 4 stores I was disappointment to find they only had a few floor models left and barely any colours to choose from. What's the point of a promotion if they barely have any stock?! After looking around I found Morba to have the best selection in the city with a ****load of colours. Also, you can literally walk in and walk out with your chairs.
Jess / December 19, 2011 at 02:12 pm
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Equilibrium on Dundas street in the Junction has same products but way better price point.
john kolovos / January 2, 2012 at 10:43 pm
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We are an auction company that will be featuring beautiful frosted glass lighting circa 1960 in geometric shapes for Hotel-Convention-Banquet spaces. Auction this month-hundreds of pieces-pennies on the dollar!
Contact John. 416-912-9090
Petra / February 27, 2012 at 03:44 pm
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I've found some vintage design knock-offs here that very quickly break. Note the owner is terrible with customer service and does not guarantee anything in his store. Repairs to fix chairs were exorbitantly priced and took forever. I gave the store another chance but was again disappointed with the quality and service. If it's vintage maybe but if it's a reproduction don't expect the owner to take care of any problems you may have with the products.
Jana / June 9, 2012 at 03:25 pm
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Yes, I went to Equilibrium as well. I only saved $40.00 but that is better than nothing. Customer service was a 8 out of ten there too. I had to really push myself on the sales staff to get help, provided they were packed .
Aris / July 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm
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Probably one the places with the worst customer experiences in the city. You guys seriously need a brand new staff. It wouldn't kill to have salespeople that actually help people rather than stare at whatever is on their computer screens all day.
don't buy here / February 2, 2014 at 01:54 pm
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Don't. Ever ever go buy anything from this store! We bought a dinning table and supposed to deliver at our New place and he pretended that he never saw us before or processesed our transaction after paying it in full including delivery! He won't even give our money back! I can't believe how they treated us! Don't ever come to this store and went through the same experience like we did! Shame on you Morba!
James / April 14, 2014 at 11:15 pm
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I went there earlier today to buy a lamp which they advertised on their website... When I got to the store they said the price was wrong, and that "some guy that doesn't work for them must have did it"... that doesn't even make sense?

She then told me I have to pay an extra 50 bucks if I want the lamp... Forget this place - a scam if I ever heard one!
Brandon / April 22, 2014 at 11:29 am
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Nice selection, decent prices, but abysmal customer service. My girlfriend and I were in there for 20 minutes, clearly serious about buying a couple things, and no one even bothered to greet us, let alone ask if we needed assistance. Two women were sitting in front of their computers, and didn't even look up to say hello, while another was sweeping/cleaning and didn't acknowledge us either. Asking questions about a simple string of lights was painful, as I had to ask the same questions several ways in order to get a clear answer from the woman. Then we were interested in a particular print, but the display one was the last one they had in stock. That's fine, but the woman had no interest in selling us the floor model, and didn't even bother offering any sort of discount to make the sale. Instead she said it would take 2 weeks to get more in and that we could get it then, without offering any sort of shipping - free or otherwise. She said that waiting for new ones to come in is "better for us, not for you" (her exact words), instead of trying to make a sale with a (likely dinged-up) floor model. We took the dimensions, as she wouldn't even consider letting us purchase it, take it home to see how it looks, and possibly returning it if it didn't work. She suggested taping up newspaper to our wall instead... Oh, and their return policy is store credit only unless you bring it back within 24 hours. We bought the string of lights, and said we would think about the print, even though my girlfriend really liked it, but it's unlikely we'll be going back since they do no deserve our business or money. If that woman wasn't the owner, any store owner with half a brain would fire her immediately.

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