Last summer I (John) hosted a documentary series called City of Makers. Produced by Andrea Orazi for Narrative Pictures and directed by Scott Abraham, the series examines the people who shape a city’s creative identity.
Ive been meaning to share this on the blog once the episodes became available, so very sorry for my delay. Having a store that specializes in goods from Scandinavia and Japan we aren’t well-known for carrying Canadian made things, but you might be surprised how many things we have that are made right here in Toronto. When Scott and Andrea approached us to be involved in their documentary series, I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce our friends whose work we really love and respect and who we feel are on an international level of quality but just so happen to live here in Toronto.
I hope you enjoy this first series!
Click here for the City of Makers website.
Alissa is a ceramicist who mainly produces sculptural commissions, including work for the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Alissa also produces the Sucabaruca coffee set for Design store and gallery Mjolk.
Brian Vu – Latre Art and Style
Brian runs his own store in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto. Brian uses the ancient dye indigo to colour his clothing, his designs are influenced by his love of military clothing.
Sarra Tang – Hoi Bo
Sarra is a designer who makes bags, clothing and accessories for her company Hoi Bo. Sarra is known for bags made from her unique hand processed dry wax material.
Lubo Brezina – Lubo Design
Lubo is a furniture designer who works in wood. Lubo’s recognizable style combines substantial timber with Japanese joinery techniques.
For the first 5 years of having our store Mjolk, we never offered beds. It seemed like our small showroom wouldn’t be able to display such a large item, and we ourselves didn’t own a bed frame. When people came to us looking for the perfect bed we would say, well… we don’t sell beds, but the nicest bed we have seen is the Companions bed designed by StudioIlse for De La Espada.
I don’t know how many people we must have recommended this bed to over the years but it seemed to come up a lot. Fortunately for us, we had the opportunity to meet Luis De Oliveira the head of De La Espada and after telling him how much we admired the work they were making especially the work designed by Ilse Crawford and Luca Nichetto we were given the opportunity to represent two of their brands: The Nichetto brand and also the StudioIlse brand. Finally, we had the chance to offer, in our opinion, the best beds available today.
That brings us to our own home, which for us gives us the inspiration for the store and has become our laboratory and testing ground. It acts a little like an extended showroom for customers looking to see what will happen to their furniture after years of use and with children, how natural leather patinas and soaped furniture becomes like driftwood with age. We decided we should order the bed for ourselves, along with the Companions bedside table so we could start enjoying it in our own daily life.
The bed is made from solid white oak with a hand-turned spindle back which acts as a bench for you to prop yourself on while you read in bed. We have put this to test ourselves every night since we like reading before bed, and it makes the act much more comfortable.
A small collection of items we have acquired including a ceramic vessel for storing incense, ancient roman glass and the “box of air” sculpture by Japanese potter and Tea Master Masanobu Ando.
The companions bedside table is soft and warm but also incredibly practical. A generous top surface with a beveled edge for our Cestita table lamp, a cork basket for our iPhone and hudsalve and a lower shelf for books. This keeps all of the surfaces organized and clean looking.
We had this Japanese paper fan framed for the room. The pattern is designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune, and the fan is made by a small workshop in Kyoto for Sfera Gallery. We also sell this in our store.
A large floor vase inspired by African water jars made by Uchida Kouichi, one of our favourite potters.
Howell lurking from behind the bed. Did you notice all of the feet on the StudioIlse craftworks have copper legs? From the smallest stool to the longest table, it is such a beautiful and thoughtful detail.
Real life in progress.
We never formally got to introduce all of the individual works in the Garden Works collection by Anderssen & Voll, so I thought I would share each piece along with some words by A&V.
Anderssen & Voll on the Garden Works Project:
The herb pot containers are primarily meant as safe havens for the pots of fresh herbs you buy at the grocery store. In our experience these herbs lead an unsafe existence once they hit the kitchen counter: heavily plucked and with no designated place to stay.
The pots are made from hand thrown terracotta, the side opening promotes watering the soil from the bottom instead of from the top, which displaces soil and exposes sensitive root systems. Watering from the bottom promotes healthy root growth and as a result, a bigger plant.
The opening on the side also allows you to pour away excess water 20 minutes after watering.
Herb Pot Large
Min Watering Can
Indoor gardening is a miniature world. Clean, cultivated and controlled. In this context, we wanted to work with the watering can as a precision tool: a big, softly shaped wooden handle with references to kitchen utensils, a relatively small volume of water leading out in a long and precise spout. The ornamental dialogue between the sensuous shape of the handle and the drawings of the wood grain is something we really appreciate in this product.
The water saver has basically the same function as a PET-water bottle turned upside down. The water is filtered through the soil and seeps slowly into the pot. We adapted this function to a sculptural glass object that mimics the plant and that would be nice enough to park in your flower pots even when it’s not in use.
New Mexico Cactus Pots
Cacti and succulents enjoy being watered directly into well drained soil. Their roots should never be standing in water. Our answer to this was to lift the pot on a short stem above the water collecting disc. The ornament on the disc as well as the chosen colour palette (not pictured) is influenced by our image of sun baked landscapes and the natural habitats of cacti: New Mexico, Arizona or even closer destinations like The Canary Islands.
On Wednesday January 21st we co-hosted the first retrospective for Anderssen & Voll with the help of the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
We had an incredible turn out, between 500 – 600 visitors within a 3 hour window. Thank you everyone who came to the opening and came out during the rest of design week. Of course if you want to visit us, the exhibition will be on for most of February.
Oslo Sofa and Grid cushion for Muuto, blankets for Røros Tweed and Jøtul wood stove.
A little reveal of the Oslo sofa and Grid cushion.
The Ori pepper / salt mill, Wrong for Hay. We picked up the soft green version for our home and are really enjoying it.
The prototype of the Good Morning Moka pot, soon to be put into production.
The rest sofa and ottoman for Muuto, Elephant tables by Wrong For Hay and blankets for Røros Tweed.
The Tibu bar stool in the classic A&V colour palette. These are produced by Italian company Magis.
The magical Yoko lamp for Foscarini.
One of the product collaborations produced locally in Toronto: “New Mexico Cactus Pots”. The design consists of a clay pot floating above a sculpted saucer. This allows for proper drainage, so the cactus is never sitting in water, thus ensuring a happy life.
The Min watering can, the starting place for the Indoor Garden Works project. We settled on producing the watering can in brass or copper with an oak or walnut handle. Nicest watering can ever?
The Glass water bulb is a water saver that automatically waters your plants if you go away on a trip, or keeps thirsty plants like ferns hydrated if you can’t keep up with watering them.
The hand-thrown herb pots, the idea being to water the herbs from the bottom instead of from the top, which displaces soil and exposes sensitive root systems. Watering from the bottom promotes healthy root growth and as a result, a bigger plant.
We were awarded Best in Festival: New Work, the highest prize for the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, for this innovation!
The collection together.
Elodie testing out the Tibu stools, colour coordinated and all.
The soft sage green float candle holder on a solid oak Elephant table.
The grey glass water-saver in practice.
Some photos from our opening night: thank you to all of our generous sponsors, you really helped make it a special night, along with all our wonderful guests!
VOSS water kept everyone hydrated.
Espen Voll and Jan-Terje Studsvik Storaas from our sponsor, the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
Norwegian seafood soup shooters.
Whipped Smoked Cod Mousse on Kettle Chip.
Creamy Cold Water Salad Shrimp on Rye Toast with Pickeled Quail Egg
Espen Voll, Torbjorn Anderssen, John Baker, Juli Daoust Baker, Jan-Terje Studsvik Storaas.
Thank you also to Innovation Norway for your contributions!
A little late to the game, but we wanted to use this opportunity to share some new products that we have in the shop, while providing some unique gift ideas for those folks you may he humming and hawing over.
Some of these items have just arrived to us, and are not uploaded to our webstore yet. If you would like to place an order right away, please just send your list along with your address to our Mjolk email.
Patina Copper Lantern (mini) – $160
Bamboo Charcoal Incense Sticks (NEW) – $20
Match Box, with matches (large – NEW) – $35
Candle Snuff by Renaud Sauve (NEW) – $220
Float Candleholder by Anderssen Voll (NEW) – $59
Match Box, with matches (NEW, small, brass. Also comes in small, black) – $45 in brass / $25 black
Unique vase by Studio Prepa – $190
Tajika Copper Scissors – $95 ($85 for small)
Hand Broom with Cedar Dustpan (NEW) – $135
Unique Coral chopstick rests, selected by Jurgen Lehl (limited availability) – $120
Groove Marble Trivet by Hallgeir Homstvedt (NEW, large size pictured) – $65/79
Ihada Muddler/Jam Spoon by Oji Masanori (silver & sandcast brass)- $70
Ihada Butter Knife by Oji Masanori (silver & sandcast brass) – $85
Ihada Spice /Tea Powder Spoon by Oji Masanori (silver & sandcast brass) – $50
Cast Iron Fry Pan by Nobuho Miya (NEW) – $200
Carved wooden spoon (NEW) – $35
Hinoki rice scoop (NEW) – $27
Olive Oil (NEW) – $35
Handwoven Copper Netted Tray (NEW) – good as a cooling rack for fried or baked foods – $150
Copper Deep Fry or Tofu Server (NEW) – $80
Hand Hammered Pot – $360
Three types of tea by Jurgen Lehl (NEW) – Hojicha Roasted Green Tea currently available online, all available in store – $15
Wood lidded thermos (NEW, comes in three sizes) – $157 / $170 / $175
Handmade Bamboo Tea whisk (NEW) – $50
Copper tea strainer (NEW) – $85
Jurgen Lehl Ethiopian Forest Honey (NEW) – $25
Goat Hair Face Brush – $22
Jurgen Lehl Shea Butter – $40
Hudsalve – $12
Hinoki bath stool – $170
Hinoki Bath Bowl – $120
Vase by Matthias Kaiser (NEW) – $325
Tetu Iron Door Stop – $75
Porcelain Paint Palette by Renaud Sauve (large) – $220 ($190 for small)
Red Lacquer Box (NEW) – $275
Swedish life in general is rather informal. Society has done away with most old fashioned rituals and form of address. But we do drink a lot of coffee. In fact, Sweden ranks as the world’s top consumer of it. In business and in private it is customary to serve coffee or ’fika’ whenever we meet. And it’s always very casually offered, but in its practice fika is in fact a kind of modern ceremony. Up to five or eight times a day.
Welcome to our fika. Or, if that’s not your cup of tea, the pitcher works equally well for maple syrup.
– Cleasson Koivisto Rune