General

Luca Nichetto + Mjölk: Sucabaruca

January 21st, 2014

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Luca Nichetto + Mjolk Opening

Location: Mjölk, 2959 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M6P 1Z2
Date: 22 January 2014 Time:  7 -9 pm (please RSVP)
Luca Nichetto will be in attendance.

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“The collaboration between Luca Nichetto and the Mjölk gallery started during the first visit of the Venetian designer in Canada, where, taking the suggestion of his friend Eero Koivisto he visited the Mjölk gallery, where he met with the gallerists John Baker and his wife Juli Daoust.

The warm and elegant environment, fitted out with finely crafted objects from all over Japan and Scandinavia, put Nichetto immediately at ease. During pleasant conversations with John and Juli, their common passion for design and detail have led them to think of a collaboration, which resulted in a product specifically designed for their gallery, along with a solo exhibition containing some of the projects, the designer, has created in his career.

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The product created for Mjölk is the coffee set called “Sucabaruca”. It is a project that, from the start, has been involving people from different cultures and countries: Juli and John who, with passion, collect and distribute in Canada products mainly from Scandinavia and Japan; the Canadian ceramist Alissa Coe, who made the prototypes, skillfully interpreting our project; Lera Moiseeva, designer and artist of Russian origin, but New Yorker by adoption, who contributed to the development of the coffee set in collaboration with Nichetto´s studios in Sweden and Italy; and Elena Freddi, collaborator at the studio in Stockholm, who took care of the set up for the exhibition “Luca Nichetto + Mjölk” in Toronto. All these people have enriched the project, making it an extraordinary melting pot of ideas and energy on an international scale.

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The “Sucabaruca” coffee set is rich in cultural and formal references that come from  the influences of several people involved in the project. The main cone-shaped body is reminiscent of “Carmencita”, the famous character created by Armando Testa in 1966 for the tv show“Carosello”. The patterns, hand-engraved by hand in the ceramic, are meant to emphasize the uniqueness of the pieces, as well as for the tray, manufactured using material such as Canadian maple wood, which always reveal new and unique patterns when carved. Just like in a game, the set elements can be stacked and combined as desired, indulging in the different personalities offered by 3 colour palettes, from total white, inspired by the fashion designer Martin Margiela, to pastel tones, characteristic of Japanese architectures, and eventually pop colours, a tribute to the eclectic artist Jean-Paul Goude.”

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Happy New Year!

December 31st, 2013

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Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

Some things to look forward to:

+ January 22, Luca Nichetto exhibition and new product launch with Mjölk.

+ Exhibitions for:

Studio Prepa glassworks
Masanobu Ando
Ryuji Mitani
Renaud Sauvé (Ateliers des Cents Ans).

+ Mjölk Volume III (spring).

See you in 2014!

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Snow in Toronto

December 20th, 2013

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We’ve had an incredible amount of snowfall during the first few days of the week, but of course if you’re in Toronto today you can appreciate the irony of this blog post since it is raining. We can all agree that any city is much more beautiful with a sprinkling of snow so despite all the inconveniences it causes I would take the snow over the slushy winter rain any day.

During this snowfall, there were some really nice moments in our little courtyard. First being the snow falling on the delicate bamboo leaves, which remain a strong green colour.

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There are so many paintings with snow on bamboo, it’s just cool to see it in real life.

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Also on our bonsai.

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The snow creeping up onto the window sill.

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Kazumi Tsuji’s “Snow” bowl looking very appropriate.

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Elodie’s first real snow experience.

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Our view outside our bedroom to the parking lot behind, luckily with some bamboo making a small privacy screen. If you close the window just right, all you see is bamboo. Very Japanese.

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Winnipeg, MB

October 2nd, 2013

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The other week we visited Winnipeg. Why Winnipeg you ask? Well, firstly I (Juli) grew up visiting my grandmother and family several times a year, even attending a French day camp at St. Boniface for a month in the summer. More recently though, we have made quite a few friends through the shop that are from Winnipeg. Some events were happening all at the same time so we figured it was a good time to visit.

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It was Elodie’s first airplane ride and she was surprisingly amazing for a very busy 18 month old. Although I think a 2 hour flight is her maximum, she stayed in our lap and was quiet the whole flight (not as good the way back, but what can you do!). We rented a car and made our first stop The Forks for some lunch. We were going to go to the children’s museum but Mike from Scandinavian Modern told us about this amazing park right next door.The Variety Heritage Adventure Playground had plenty to do to burn off some of that toddler energy.

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After a long play session Elodie passed out in the car and we drove around town.

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We then visited Little Sister Coffee Maker, a new cafe in Osborne Village, co-owned by our friend Nils Vik of Parlour Coffee and his sister-in-law Vanessa. I am so embarrassed that I didn’t get any proper photos. Travelling with toddler made it hard to get in the zone, and we thought we would have time to visit again (we didn’t), so I only got two shots!

Regardless, the atmosphere is really lovely, and the details are all there, right down to the colour scheme and fresh flowers. Honestly, this is the type of cafe we would go to daily if given the opportunity. They actually use legit Iittala mugs and serve incredible croissants and baked goods. I had a mocha and it was the best I have ever had. John had a pour over, which not many places take the time to do. In order to get Elodie to sit still for a few minute we placated her with her very own cookie. She responded with a fairly adept impersonation of Cookie Monster (nom nom nom) and refused to share even one bite of her cookie with us. She is her mother’s daughter.

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A cute post box turned trash bin.

We were pretty tired after our busy day so we headed back to our fancy digs at The Fairmont to grab some room service and put Elodie to bed. We ended up with a double room suite (it was the only room available, I swear) and it was worth every penny. When your kid goes to bed around 7pm the last thing you want to do is sit in the dark for the rest of the evening. Also the room service was surprisingly good for a change.

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If you are familiar with Winnipeg then you will know that Stella’s is an institution at this point. I used to go with my grandma to the location in Osborne Village and it’s as good now as it ever was. Best breakfast in town – actually I wish there was one in Toronto!

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I know this looks pretty average but they make their own jam and bread which are two huge factors in the best breakfast category. We ate here both mornings.

Some architecture:

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The Exchange area

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Winnipeg City Hall

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Centennial Concert Hall

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Manitoba Museum and Planetarium

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The first diorama in the museum is the bison hunt, a classic. I always insisted on visiting the museum, every single time, dead of winter even (three buses).

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A newer diorama of a Ukrainian homestead. Looks like a William Kurelek painting!

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Old murals

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Tyndall stone, a limestone rich in decorative fossils, is widely used in commercial applications in Winnipeg. Our friend Thom made a gorgeous coffee table out of this material.

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The iconic The Golden Boy, perched on top of the legislature building.

Another post to follow!

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Quebec

September 4th, 2013

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Last week we took a little road trip, sans bébé, to visit our friends Renaud and Gilbert. They live in paradise and are exceptional cooks so you’re all very lucky we returned. We were ready to give it all up and live the country life. It’s quite a reminder that we don’t interact with nature enough (at all?) in our hectic city life. We will have to make more of an effort to head out into nature more often, especially with our little outdoorsbaby, who collapses in a heap of despair every time we try to bring her indoors.

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Gilbert and Renaud (pictured at right chatting with John) are building their own three storey home, with a wood shop on the main floor basement and a lovely ceramics studio just off the kitchen on the second floor. Both are exceptional craftsmen and the details of their home and work show it. We’ll be featuring their studio and home in our next Mjölk volume.

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Their property is nearly self sustaining, with a large garden patch, and a beautiful river that runs through it for swimming, contemplation, clay digging or rock hunting.

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They have a cat who is a real cat. He goes outside all night long and then passes out exhausted in the morning to sleep the day away. I didn’t realize that this seat was his special place. He made do.

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The neighbour down the lane owns the whole big property, and has a donkey, three (?) dogs and about 11 cats.

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The neighbour’s guest house (barn) and house.

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The house is still under construction as you can see but it has such a nice comfortable vibe. Left over Paella made by Gilbert for lunch before we hit the road.

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On our way home we stopped in Montreal for a day. We stayed at Hotel Gault near old Montreal.

With only a day we started at Olive & Gourmande (Renaud recommended it and it was around the corner from our hotel) for some coffee and light breakfast then headed up to Jean-Talon Market.

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Feeling kind of lazy we soon found ourselves at Cafe Ellefsen. We had considered doing a feature on it for our next book but found out from the owners that they recently sold it and that it will have to change themes before the end of September. I think the owners are looking for a new location. We had some coffee and then found that it was lunch time so we ordered some Smørrebrød and poutine (when in Quebec…).

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With full bellies we walked over to the Mile End neighbourhood. I don’t think I’ve ever been over there! The last time I was in Montreal was in younger years when we went for the nightlife and slept most of the day away. Now it’s the opposite, we’re in bed by 8! Soon we’ll be sporting practical clothing and shoes and backpacks to hike the city streets (never). So I am not sure if Mile End always had things happening or if it’s a relatively newer hot spot. It has some nice design shops, restaurants, cafes and clothing shops (above was my favourite). Worth visiting the neighbourhood as it’s away from the crowds and more youthful.

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All in all a relaxing little holiday!

Sorry we’ve been so quiet lately…we hope to get back into the swing of things this fall. We hope that you all had a really nice summer, though didn’t it seem so short this year? We don’t have too much planned for the fall at Mjölk, besides restocking the showroom for the holiday season and focusing our attention on finding new Scandinavian products and the blog. Hope to see you soon!

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Living with a toddler and nice things.

August 15th, 2013

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I’ve been meaning to write about this subject for some time, but between summer and the Nakashima exhibition, we’ve been in a bit of a whirlwind. We haven’t shared much of our house yet, mostly because we are still settling in! It takes quite some time to feel comfortable putting art up (or acquiring it) and finding special textiles that take a space to the next level of homeyness.

We have a flex space that is currently Elodie’s bedroom (she’ll move to another room once either a) another baby comes along, or b) she escapes her crib and becomes ready for a big kid bed. She has been sleeping in here since December but we’ve only just felt like the room is complete. It’s a small space that is ALL windows and doors.  So that makes for a challenge when it comes to shelving and art. I think ultimately though, this isn’t a play room. It’s a sleeping space and needs to be calm and minimal. There is a nice pop of nature out the window (in Canada you legally need to have an operable window in each bedroom, so Studio Junction made a clever little courtyard, where we are in the process of planting some bamboo).

The second we saw the Leander crib and change table we knew it would be perfect for our new home.  I had some serious baby brain going on when I put it together but the craftsmanship is really solid and it’s wearing really well despite the odd bite mark around the edges. We invested in the bed because it also turns into a toddler bed, by expanding by about another foot and a half. The only worry I have is that if I turn it into a toddler bed now, we’ll eventually need another crib. I wish buying the toddler bed wasn’t as expensive as buying the crib. If anyone in the Toronto area is selling or sees one for sale, let me know!!!

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We found this mobile via Remodelista (oddly I cannot find the post) and ultimately bought it from the maker as the store they had linked in the story didn’t ship to Canada. Another piece that is perfect for both a baby and an adult space (would look nice in a sheltered garden for example).

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Pia Wallen Cross Baby Blanket is now available at Mjölk (though may not be online yet). Adult version also available.

Bunny was a birthday gift from a very lovely customer.

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This carpet we bought via Etsy. John was looking for Moroccan rugs and this was added while he was lurking on a page. It jumped out at us for Elodie’s room. Since she lives in a pretty neutral world, we thought it’d be that extra punch of colour necessary to make it a less serious space. And even though it’s kid friendly, I think it’s a rug she could love and use into adulthood (that is, after her inevitable rejection phase).

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Needing some storage we turned to the much loved Ribba picture shelves from Ikea.

Painting at top was commissioned by Melinda Josie, of our cats. The elephant picture was made by our friend Hollie as a birthday gift. The wood blocks with Elodie’s name are from our friends over at Ltd. Supply Kitchen Brewery (ok, they are our besties, but check out what they are up to if you’re into craft beer).

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The Muji CD player is the perfect little thing for a nursery. The giraffe was a surprise gift from Jake of Machine Age Modern. Some vintage and new Moomin books. A Dala Horse from our wedding. The Chalk Piggy Bank was bought from Ladies & Gentlemen Studio (wow they’ve been busy!). Monkey is from our first trip to Copenhagen together. String is from when we tried to sell it in the shop but it proved too complicated. Portrait of us (just pregnant and not knowing it) is by Phillipa C in collaboration with what was Russet & Empire, during the first Junction Design Crawl (mark your calendar, next one is Friday August 23rd!!).

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On the left was a gift from Arounna and John of Bookhou.

The print on the right is a signed and numbered lithograph that I coincidentally bought on the same day the rug arrived. Serendipitously they have the same colour scheme and sealed the look for the space. I happened to wander over to Williams on Keele, and as I was chatting away my eyes kept scouring. The print was originally in a fake bamboo style frame and I could only see a part of the gold section – somehow I knew it was a Japanese print worth checking out. I asked to look at it and was shocked, $45! I NEVER luck out with finds like this. Honestly, we debated putting this piece in our room, but Elodie liked it from the get go. She gave it a kiss.

We immediately took it to our new framing friends over at The Gilder. It costs a bit more to get a custom white oak frame but so much better than all the generic styles that are readily available.

 

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The Hans Wegner J16 rocking chair and Artek Zebra Pillow. We use this rocking chair every day, and once this room is no longer a nursery, it will most likely move up to the cottage to continue to be enjoyed.

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Moving away from the bedroom, we all know kids stuff gets everywhere. I was starting to feel like we have too much stuff, but have realized we barely have anything. We have two bins and half the stuff is for babies. Elodie doesn’t slow down much to play anyway. She likes running around and practicing skills like climbing up and down. So books and balls and babies are the only things she really interacts with (not even blocks!). The above cardboard box? Needs to go in the recycling…she’s over it.

Elodie loves her chair by Tomii Takashi. It’s the perfect size.

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Not pictured is the Ikea easel, for colouring….

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And yes, she colours outside of the box. This has been like this for weeks too. Ohhh we are certainly not perfect over here!

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The Brasilia coffee table by Claesson Koivisto Rune is a perfect sort of coffee table. Soft rounded corners and hollow means we don’t have to worry about bumps on the head. Except when she climbs up onto the table and jumps off, a constant fascination.

She barely pays any mind to that Masanobu Ando sculpture. And if she does we just take it and move it up high. But generally she’s not all that interested in the stuff around the house. Now that’s obviously her personality, and not all kids will act this way. I find that she gets into trouble if she’s bored or tired.

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In the living room there are some low shelves for Elodie’s toys.

Shhh sleeping bunny. Also, banana hands, everywhere, always.

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Finally on this not so kid friendly yet kid friendly home tour, the rocking sheep (contact us for info, not on website), which for some reason ended up in our bedroom but has yet to leave. And really, it’s quite nice in our room. A touch of kid in an adult space.

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Note: Based on this post it seems like we get a lot of free stuff, but it’s not usually the case. Babies bring the love.

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