Casalife Collabos For Cute Condos

Now, I live in a wee, wee apartment. You could fit my entire bachelor suite in the living room of some of my friends' apartments, so Casalife is the holy grail for studio-dwelling peons like me.

This Liberty Village showroom bills itself as a purveyor of condo-sized pieces, but it is damn nice furniture--pieces so nice (and expensive) that you ponder why people who can afford such fancy furniture are living in such small apartments. Hmm.

But those who have some cash to spend on good design now have even more pieces to covet. Casalife recently put out the call to fashion designers, TV personalities, and interior design companies to try furniture design for the condo crowd. (And, furniture freaks, owner Robert Whitfield is looking into making some of the pieces available on a limited edition basis.)


Notable participants in the "Mi Casa, Su Casa" design expo include eTalk host Tanya Kim, club baron Charles Khabouth, fashion house Bustle Clothing, graphic design firm Studiolit, and architecture studio Raw Design, along with a handful of interior designers.

Whitfield wanted to target non-designers, but he was surprised at the response he got. "I think a lot of people have more passion for furniture than they realize," he said. "For instance, I love cooking, but on small counters, it sucks. A lot of people share those problems and want to make it better."


The pieces include a magazine rack that tucks the mags away for a less cluttered look; a shiny black pedestal table with a see-through middle; a buffet with many handy nooks and crannies; a wall-unit of brightly-coloured cubbyholes, and decorative mirrors.


Participant Karen Sealy took inspiration from the homes she visits as an interior designer, where many of her clients are using milk cartons, Rubbermaid containers, and folding ladders to access their stored belongings. She designed an all-in-one storage container/step-stool combo where stuff is stored in the main compartment, while the small step-up on the side allows people to access high-up storage. And the best part? The step portion folds away nicely to leave a chicly compact storage container behind.


Vancouver-based fashion designer Christopher Bates of Ultra menswear took inspiration from his line of work as well--he crafted a trio of brushed-metal coffee tables with glass tops made skinny for condo living, but with denim and canvas trapped under the glass. "I wanted to fuse fashion and furniture," Bates said. "And there's fabric in furniture--it's not something we always wear on the body."


Just as clothes tell a story, tables are often the focus of a room, he said, and you can often tell a lot about a person by these pieces of furniture. "I see these as modern, hip, for younger people," he said. "Yeah, all that's missing is the giant pile of coke," I joked, noting that the tables wouldn't look out of place at a banging party of high-flying securities traders in the eighties. "Well, that's what the tempered glass top is for!" laughed Bates.


Fellow clothing designer Evan Biddell is also used to working with fabric, but he took to furniture right away. "I sat down and did some sketches and did something that I would expect for myself. I said, 'If Evan Biddell is able to design a piece of furniture then it's going to be a throne, goddamnit!'" His throne idea was met by some gentle recommendations from the furniture pros. "It had to be something more realistic--for condo living. A condo-toned throne," Biddell sighed.


The results, however, are, fabulous. The throne morphed into a sleek, Art Deco-style club chair made from sustainable "plyboo" (my new favorite material) and non-toxic leather, with the bonus of a small storage compartment underneath the seat. "For your Monopoly!" said Biddell's boyfriend, Colton Rice, cheerfully.

And if I had more than Monopoly money, I'd gladly store mine there.

Photos by Studiolit

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