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Fashion Stores

Room 2046

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on May 29, 2012

Room 2046 TorontoRoom 2046 is a "concept shop," which makes any attempt at classification seem largely futile. Let's see; it's a book store, graphic design studio, housewares boutique, clothing store, and espresso bar. Forgive me if I left something out.

The new "space" (let's leave it at that) recently opened on Yonge right at Summerhill. I meet owner Kumala Nio just days after opening, and she attempts to guide me through the inspiration behind opening Room 2046.

Room 2046 Toronto"I've done a lot of traveling and lived all over the world," she says, noting that Toronto has always been her home base. Born in Indonesia, Kumala tells me she's lived in the United States, studied in London (England, that is), and says she's always had a "burning desire" to somehow capture bits and pieces of the different places she has visited.

Room 2046 TorontoThose bits and pieces have formed the basis of her store, which was named for the 2004 Wong Kar-wai flick. We start at the front of the store, and Kumala introduces me to her favourite brands from Italy, Argentina, and beyond. "These bags are all handmade in Milan," she says, picking up a soft powder blue 72 Small Dive handbag ($284). The suede is incredibly soft and smooth, and dyed a variety of colours that are all available in store.

Room 2046 TorontoRoom 2046 TorontoNext is the Kulkith footwear ($62-$78) from Indonesia, which straddle the line of shoe of sandal. Closed at the toe but open at the laces, the shoes offer a pop of colour and pattern to jazz up a neutral outfit. But as bright as they may be, I can't tear my eyes from the Thelermont Hupton "Handjob Hooks," ($175) which are wall hooks formed of common hand gestures. Sporting a shiny lacquered finish, there's the "thumbs up," "wave," and "peace sign."

"There's also one giving the middle finger," says Kumala, though unfortunately, she has not put that one on her store wall. Understandably.

Room 2046Beyond the accessories and housewares are a carefully curated collection of books, which touch on world travel, photography, and design. "Things that I'm interested in — that we're all interested in," Kumala says, referring to her partners at the store. "And this," she says, holding up a book on Brazilian design."

Room 2046 TorontoRoom 2046 TorontoThough much of Room 2046 is internationally sourced, the coffee is locally roasted. The shop will be serving cappuccinos, lattes, and other espresso drinks using Social coffee. "It's always better to browse around a store with a cup of coffee," says Kumala.

Room 2046 TorontoAnd indeed, there's plenty more to see. Kumala pulls out a few unisex Paris-based Bob Carpenter button-ups ($168) to show off, along with Canadian-designed Victor Banks bow ties ($45) and Juma printed tanks ($144). Many of the items can be seen in short film produced by Room 2046 itself, because — oh yes — they do that too.

Room 2046 TorontoRoom 2046 Toronto"Toronto is still evolving," Kumala says. "And I see there's a lack of concept shops."

"This is all about merging retail with a creative space," she continues. "And I think people are ready."

Room 2046 TorontoPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

10 Comments

Alex / May 29, 2012 at 09:48 am
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I kinda like that these places exist...variety and creativity are always welcome...but they almost always fail for the obvious reasons...they can't sell enough of this stuff to warrant the type of address (Summerhill) and rent required.

Jer / May 29, 2012 at 10:06 am
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This place looks GREAT...I must visit this weekend for me.
Parker / May 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm
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I find it interesting -- and courageous -- that the proprietor is encouraging customers to browse the wares while holding a coffee!?! Most stores pointedly ask people to ditch the food & drink before they come in, for fear of accidents.
evan / May 30, 2012 at 06:17 am
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Love the name, and for that reason, I'm going to definitely go by. I wonder if they play California Dreamin' on a constant loop...
Hepman / May 30, 2012 at 08:53 am
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Overpriced rags, but I wouldn't stop me from dropping in for a coffee and a browse of the other items.
Duarte / May 30, 2012 at 05:29 pm
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Reminds me of UKULA on College St. which was a clothing/msuic/book store, espresso bar, magazine publisher & event space.
Arby / July 17, 2012 at 11:56 am
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Well, I went in for the espresso, being the coffee geek I am. As for Toronto's interests; Honestly, There isn't one Toronto, Is there? There's Rosedale and that class, a minority, and then there's the rest of us. I won't be going to Room 2046 to spend large amounts of money on expensive accessories and others' memories.

The owner, Kumala and her barista, Chris I think, were very nice and professional, although the owner seemed to be busy with her laptop, a situation I come across in espresso bars from time to time. The barista knew his stuff and I quite enjoyed our conversation. The espresso was very interesting and good. When Social is good, it's quite good. I've had even better Social, but the cup was complex and worth every penny.

Room 2046 is a good addition to this otherwise strictly-for-locals stretch of Yonge. Too bad I'm moving to Ellesmere & Kennedy and will have to use a different dentist, depriving me of my regular visits to Summerhill Dentistry, just doors down from Room 2946.
Catalina / August 15, 2013 at 07:28 pm
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Wow! It's just like how they're adding Tim Hortons to Wal-Marts now. I'll definitely be checking it out!
Mark replying to a comment from Catalina / November 24, 2013 at 11:37 pm
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Hahah! Best comparison ever.
K / December 4, 2013 at 04:02 pm
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Great concept shop and awesome edition to the hood! Wish for them best!!

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