Avenue Road

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July 13, 2010

From the “Make Your Own Luck” desk: In June, the Toronto- and New York-based architects George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg opened the new furniture showroom-cum-gallery they designed for Avenue Road, in Toronto’s revivifying Leslieville district. As entrepreneurial as they are creative, Yabu and Pushelberg own the building (an architecturally significant, century-old former gasworks), hold a half-interest in Avenue Road itself, a company which markets an extensive but well-edited line of contemporary as well as classic furnishings and objects – and have several Yabu Pushelberg-designed pieces on offer in Avenue Road’s collection. With that much business incentive, small wonder that YP’s elegant renovation turned out so well.
 

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  The architects inserted an atrium into the space by cutting away capacious sections of the first and second floors, bringing natural illumination deep into the basement level. New glass-and-steel display cases connect the upper levels.  Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih
    The architects inserted an atrium into the space by cutting away capacious sections of the first and second floors, bringing natural illumination deep into the basement level. New glass-and-steel display cases connect the upper levels.

    Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih

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  Stacks of colorful rugs enliven the basement, which Yabu Pushelberg excavated to gain ceiling height. The massive glass panels enclosing the new stair serve as a firewall.  Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih
    Stacks of colorful rugs enliven the basement, which Yabu Pushelberg excavated to gain ceiling height. The massive glass panels enclosing the new stair serve as a firewall.

    Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih

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  The renovation showcases the original structure’s signature feature: a series of triangular steel trusses (though one, in fact, is new). Steel transom pulls, also original, were painted white so as not to compete visually with the displays.  Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih
    The renovation showcases the original structure’s signature feature: a series of triangular steel trusses (though one, in fact, is new). Steel transom pulls, also original, were painted white so as not to compete visually with the displays.

    Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih

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  In addition to creating a psychological layer of security at the edge of the atrium, the porous design of the cases shape discrete display areas without specifically enclosing them.  Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih
    In addition to creating a psychological layer of security at the edge of the atrium, the porous design of the cases shape discrete display areas without specifically enclosing them.

    Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih

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  An elevated area at one end of the third floor serves as a platform for special displays. The multicolored sideboards, by Fritz Haller and Paul Scharer, were introduced in 1963.  Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih
    An elevated area at one end of the third floor serves as a platform for special displays. The multicolored sideboards, by Fritz Haller and Paul Scharer, were introduced in 1963.

    Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih

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  Eileen Gray’s 1935 Bonaparte armchair and Petite Coiffeuse occasional table from 1929 form a stair landing tableau.  Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih
    Eileen Gray’s 1935 Bonaparte armchair and Petite Coiffeuse occasional table from 1929 form a stair landing tableau.

    Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih

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  In one of the showroom’s many intriguing display combinations, four of Simon Pengelly’s 2008 Lotus dining chairs are matched with a beveled-leg table from Mutscher Winkler Design. The 2006 High Noon floor lamp is by Germany’s El Schmid.  Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih
    In one of the showroom’s many intriguing display combinations, four of Simon Pengelly’s 2008 Lotus dining chairs are matched with a beveled-leg table from Mutscher Winkler Design. The 2006 High Noon floor lamp is by Germany’s El Schmid.

    Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih

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  The third floor’s upper level currently showcases Avenue Road’s extensive collection of outdoor furniture.  Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih
    The third floor’s upper level currently showcases Avenue Road’s extensive collection of outdoor furniture.

    Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih

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  Though Yabu Pushelberg’s design appears to be an artful contemporary insertion into an historic interior, much is in fact new – including the columns and floorplates.  Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih
    Though Yabu Pushelberg’s design appears to be an artful contemporary insertion into an historic interior, much is in fact new – including the columns and floorplates.

    Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih

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  Yabu Pushelberg’s three-level, 15,000-square-foot interior renovation of the circa 1907 Consumers Gas Company building (later home to the World Journal, a Chinese-language newspaper) preserves the interior architecture’s industrial flavor.  Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih
    Yabu Pushelberg’s three-level, 15,000-square-foot interior renovation of the circa 1907 Consumers Gas Company building (later home to the World Journal, a Chinese-language newspaper) preserves the interior architecture’s industrial flavor.

    Photo by: Chiun-Kai Shih

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