Suite 22 is a Markham design shop offering modern Italian furniture and decor. Exclusively. While the trend in furniture shops nowadays seems to be offering a bit from here and there, Suite 22 owner Roberto D'Ulisse says his concept was always about Italian design. "After I went to the furniture show in Milan," he says, "it was all downhill from there. Or uphill--however you want to look at it."
Roberto greets me at the stairs when I first walk in Suite 22 and I mistakenly (yet fortunately, silently) assume he is the son of the owner. He just looks so young in his "I [heart] 90's" t-shirt, surrounded by an impressive array of shapes, angles, and glass in a 10,000-square foot showroom. But Roberto assures me that this is his business, launched with a kickstart from, and the continued assistance of, his family.
"This business branched off from my father's," Roberto says, adding that his father has kept generally within the realm of chairs. Suite 22 on the other hand, offers furniture and décor for the bedroom, living, and dining.
Roberto first introduces me to his wall of clocks--one of many--and estimates he must offer 1,000 different styles. My favourite in the showroom is a modern take on the classic cuckoo clock ($420), where that ever-punctual mechanical cuckoo indeed pops her head out right on the hour.
We then explore the showroom and Roberto gives me the lowdown on the various lines--Lago (with which Suite 22 has an exclusive Canadian agreement), Bonaldo, Doimo, Tonin and more. Bonaldo makes the sprouting, brightly coloured coat racks by the front entrance $450, as well as the massive white glass top dining table, with funky, crisscrossed, multicoloured legs ($6,300).
"I tend to stick with mid- to higher end, edgy, things that you won't find anywhere else," Roberto says when I ask what he looks for on his annual trips to Milan. He's a personal fan on the Lago Air collection, which incorporates glass and floating shelves in many of its entertainment consoles and bookshelves. Each piece can be customized based on the buyer's specification, which will ultimately determine cost. The downside of such exclusive Italian design is, of course, the wait, which will generally be about 12 weeks from placing to receiving the order.
I'd wager, though, that you'd be hard-pressed to find anything like the Colletto Lago bed ($4,000) somewhere else, which, strangely, is almost like a bed with bumpers. The entire perimeter of the mattress is lined with a flexible foam rail, which can be turned down at the foot and sides to create a headboard effect, or else left up for those keen on getting their eight hours in a pseudo-crib. Is that how they do it in Italy?
Photos by Jesse Milns