Rolling Out a Hollace Cluny Exclusive

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 by Chris

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On Thursday I dropped into the new Hollace Cluny showroom in Toronto’s Designer’s Walk where owner Susan Fowlie threw a hopping little soiree to celebrate an exclusive, new wallpaper line, the Hollace Cluny Collection by RSSD X ROLLOUT. Designed by Robert Sangster in partnership with ROLLOUT, the Cluny Collection “is about the combination of handmade and digital processes,” says Sangster, who’s been profiled on styleNorth before (pictured above is Poured and below is Saigon).

“The focus of the collection,” says the designer, “is to capture the spirit of the Hollace Cluny brand which is tasteful and contemporary but at the same time always adventurous, not afraid of innovation, not afraid to take risks. The Hollace Cluny sensibility is what provided the inspiration.”

I’ve missed Cluny since Fowlie and partner Kathy Janules decamped from their long-established location on Yonge Street near Roxborough. And while the shift to Designer’s Walk has resulted in more focus on “the trade,” the shop still welcomes consumers and home decorators.

“I would never turn my back on the public,” Fowlie assured me Thursday. “We were in Rosedale for 17 years and the public was very good to us. But our business was coming more and more from the trade so this move made sense.”

The new Cluny showroom is twice as big as the combined floors of the old shop with lots of light and space to really show off the goods. In addition to RSSD X ROLLOUT, Cluny is now the exclusive distributor of furnishings by Carl Hansen & Son, in addition to an extensive selection of other chic, contemporary brands.

A stroll through the new Hollace Cluny is like slipping into the pages of Dwell or LivingEtc. The space is beautifully styled without being fussy, great inspiration even if, like me, you can’t afford most of what’s on offer. The vignette below features Looking Glass wallpaper from RSSD X ROLLOUT.

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Russell Spanner Comes Home

Thursday, May 8, 2014 by Chris


Toronto-based Gus* Design Group has dipped into the Canadian design archives and pulled out a plumb — a license to re-issue the Russell Spanner Lounge Chair with Arms, originally designed in 1950.

I’ve said before on styleNorth that Spanner’s designs are as close as Canadian vintage furniture comes to iconic status. Spanner won a National Design Council of Canada award in 1954. A self-taught designer, he worked as plant foreman at Spanner Products Ltd., a Toronto woodworking factory founded by his father, uncle and granddad in the 1920s. The company started issuing the younger Spanner’s designs in 1950 which means that the Lounge Chair with Arms is one of his earliest efforts. Spanner’s designs went on to be sold at Eaton’s and Simpson’s department stores across Canada.

Gus’s spiff re-issue of the chair is once again being bench-made in Toronto, rolling out to retailers this month. The chair comes in six finish/strapping combos and carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $995.

Spanner’s designs were especially well-made and Gus’s versions feature solid birch and curved birch plywood components, finger-joint and dowel-joint construction, cotton woven strapping and tapered legs attached to the seat with exposed carriage bolts. Spanner, an amateur wrestler who tipped the scale at around 250 pounds, liked to jump up on his prototypes to test their strength.

You won’t find any Spanner re-issues at the Gus Modern warehouse sale this Saturday but this popular annual event earns consistently great reviews from styleNorth readers so I’m happy to give the sale a plug. If you’re serious about scoring GO EARLY! People line up hours before the doors open and luckily the weather forecast is for warm, sunny weather, at last!


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Mid-Century Auction in Ottawa

Saturday, April 26, 2014 by Chris

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Sorry for the late notice but this auction looks decent so I thought I’d pass the info along. MacLean & Assoicates in Ottawa is selling a load of mid-century furnishings, carpets, home accessories, jewellery and art work starting tomorrow morning (April 27). Most of the furniture is solid if unspectacular Danish and Canadian from the 1960s; of particular note is some good looking Rosewood. Online and phone bidding are encouraged. If the groovy ottoman below wasn’t so damn large I’d be bidding on it myself — love those legs!

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1/Hundred Prints: Great Art, Great Cause

Thursday, April 17, 2014 by Chris


If you’ve got wall space to fill I strongly encourage you to consider a ticket to Open Studio‘s annual fundraiser 1/Hundred Prints happening May 15 at Toronto’s Palais Royale. Open Studio is the city’s biggest and best printmaking studio supporting some of Toronto’s most talented artists.

Here’s how it works: 100 prints will be available to 100 patrons for $385 each. Tickets are drawn in random order: when your number comes up, you have one minute to choose your print from those remaining. Whether your ticket is drawn first, last or in between, you and your guest (tickets provide entry for two) enjoy complimentary food and drinks and take home an original artwork, all in support of a great cause!

Open Studio, in the 401 Richmond arts hub, is a gallery and working studio where artist members work and teach and learn. Tours and demos are held frequently and if you’ve never been I highly recommend a visit.

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New Canadian Classics?

Monday, April 14, 2014 by Chris


On Thursday, I dropped into Toronto’s Urban Mode for a preview of Alberta designer Tim Antoniuk’s latest furniture series for his company, Question Objects. Truth be told, it was the three-drawer console above with its quirky, off-kilter legs that got me out to the media event. I wanted to see for myself if the quality lived up to the design on these Arctic-inspired, made-in-Canada pieces.

Manufactured in Edmonton, Question Objects furniture is shipped to boutique retailers across North America — Urban Mode is the exclusive Toronto seller. The pieces are made of solid walnut or oak with some bent plywood/veneer construction for the distinctive, curling corner pulls on the Leaf series cabinets. The drawer boxes are lined with a textured, anaglyptic treatment.

“I think people love surprises,” says Antoniuk, “and when you open the drawer it’s a neat little detail. That’s why we did the hidden drawer (below) on the dresser, that kind of care and attention makes a piece special.”

Question Objects is taking a somewhat unorthodox approach and completely skipping the trade fair circuit, which the designer notes costs $20,000 – $30,000 per show, expenses that have to be factored into the final retail price. As it is, the console in the lead pic retails for about $1,900, not a fortune but not inexpensive either (complete pricing here).

Even the drawer pulls are made in Canada although Antoniuk concedes he could source them in China for one-tenth the price. “But it’s a philosophical issue,” he says. “I want it all to be made-in-Canada.”

One other thing to note about Question Objects is that the wood is all finished with a special oil/polymer and wax finish that allows the wood to breath thus preventing splitting and cracking. The finish is durable and easily repaired if scratched.

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