The stretch of Yonge Street between Summerhill Avenue and Rosedale Road has been home to some of Toronto’s prettiest shops. Earlier this year, another handsome entrant opened on the strip. It’s called Thirty Six Knots – in homage to what the oldest known example of rug-making technique; the Pazyryk carpet, discovered in the Altai Mountains in what is now Siberia, and made by nomadic Sythians who existed between six and three centuries BCE.
The ancient standard for these rugs was 36 symmetrical knots per square centimetre, and each square frame was filled by x-shaped patterns. Designs were predominately red and ochre, and imagery often featured riders, stags, and griffins. Saddleclothes and cushions from the period are on display at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
A custom rug service anchors Thirty Six Knots, with in-house interior and graphic designers working with clients on custom pieces that are executed in wool and silk.
There’s also a range of furniture, décor, and tableware, including some extremely interesting pieces from Bones Studio, which is based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Owner and principal designer Ryan Dart says the aesthetic roots of his exceptional custom and hand-made designs grew out of his upbringing in a rural part of the western U.S., where he gained “the work ethic of his farmer father, and an artist’s eye from his mother.”
If you love glass, especially coloured glass (count me in), take a look at the vessels from Firdio, a Dutch company that also has an unusual backstory. Marcel and Daniëlle van Bronkhorst were originally professional florists with a shop in Woerden, a city between Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
During eight years in operation, they became increasingly focused on decorative products, and the shop became too small. They had a choice: a bigger flower shop or change focus and shift to glassware? So Fidrio was born, with the two designing glassware in Holland that’s mouth blown in Poland with wooden moulds. Lots of it is milky white with bold splashes or dabs of colour, and the effect is not unlike that of a beautifully balanced floral arrangement.
There’s also a sweet little in-house café where you can sit and drink a cappuccino and ponder what to purchase.
As long as you are in the neighbourhood, why not stop by Farrow and Ball at 1128 Yonge Street? If you’re lucky their colour consultant William MacDonald will be on the premises, and you can catch the pearls of colour wisdom that fall from his lips. If he’s not on the floor, ask about the colour consultancy service he provides (more on that soon.) Read about Hopson Grace, also on Yonge, here in the SUN.