FUNCTION 13, 156 Augusta, 416-840-1010 ext 138, www.function13.ca. Rating: NNNNN
In one of those only-in-Toronto, quirky real estate juxtapositions, design, art and technology shop Function 13 is sandwiched between Kensington Market alt dance bar the Boat and the Lusitania Grocery. It fits in just fine, though, inserting into the vintage and foodie-full neighbourhood a modern hub for grassroots and global design consumption.
The month-old shop is part of the Element156 Digital Media Centre, home to the Flash In The Can media festival (www.fitc.ca) and the Rich Media Institute (www.richmediainstitute.com) where students get schooled in Photoshop, circuit breaking and other programming pursuits.
No coding experience is required to appreciate the shop's plywood racks designed by Tom Kuo, which are full of mags like Hong Kong's IDN and New York City's Cabinet, the latter exploring themes like mountains or magic from an aesthetic angle.
CDs are sometimes stocked for their cover art, but releases from Ed Banger Records or the Boredoms also include tunes with an electronic element. T-shirts by local illustrators and international collectives like Threadless incorporate psychedelic, collage and Japanese-style graphics.
Function 13 picks: The Music Library book, an album of retro record sleeve art, $60; Tactile, focusing on object, product and installation design, $80; start-up Toronto line Blue Swan's snail sex graphic, screened onto a cotton T, $30.
Look for: The opening of Element156's Pixel Gallery behind the store November 17 and a full open house November 23.
Hours: Monday to Friday noon to 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday 11 am to 6 pm.