Design Within Reach 435 King West, 416-977-4003 www.dwr.com/toronto
As you enter Design Within Reach’s lofty King and Spadina space, the first thing that catches your eye is a super-sized photograph from a 1961 issue of Playboy of mid-century design gurus including George Nelson, Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames (fully clothed, of course). Breaking up a store wall display of moulded plastic rockers and wire-base tables, another photo features Eames and his equally legendary wife, Ray, pinned to the ground by the chrome legs of their moulded plywood dining chairs.
If you’re stumped by all this designer name-dropping, a tour of the American furniture retailer’s 68th shop (and first outside the U.S.) will school you on Fortuny lamps and Noguchi coffee tables. It’s all classically modern, with nods to small-space functionality (a slick Iwantani hot plate chics up a pot of mac ’n’ cheese) and clever whimsy (Nani Marquina rugs are hooked with red felt paillettes or green leaf cutouts).
All products are fully licensed through manufacturers like Herman Miller and Knoll, so you can be sure your new Barcelona chair is the real deal.
Design Within Reach picks: Start your Eames collection with that wire-base table, available with a black or white laminate top, $149; a David Trubridge Coral pendant suspends an oversized bulb in a latticed wood shade, $500; win the chair wars with Vitra’s Cité armchair by Jean Prouvé, with tan leather belts wrapping its glossy red frame, $3,265.
Look for: Prices at par with U.S. stores and catalogue, but don’t forget to factor in shipping and duty charges.
Hours: Monday to Friday 10 am to 7 pm, Saturday 10 am to 6 pm, Sunday noon to 5 pm.