It could be the residual warmth, or that everyone’s skin has a peachy and almost sun-kissed glow, but being in a room with multiple lights turned on is, well, a turn-on. Certainly, that’s how I felt this past Wednesday at the Toronto opening of LightForm, a top-tier Canadian lighting partner for designers and architects.
LightForm Toronto, Baccarat display. Photo by Seth Fluker.
Located at 267 Niagara Street, just south of Queen Street West, LightForm’s 10,000-square-foot showroom replaces Engelite, Canada’s oldest and largest lighting manufacturer. The site was chosen both for its prime locale and undeniable attractiveness — the historic building is one pretty pile of bricks, with big industrial windows and polished concrete floors.
A favourite of architects and designers since it was established in 1987 out west (existing showrooms are in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver), LightForm carries curated beauties by luxe labels, both local and international. It’s the sole Canadian distributor for Marset, Roll & Hill, Fabbian and Bover, and is one of the few that imports Moooi, Metalarte, Baccarat and Flos.
Example of a Thierry Dreyfus "Wall Rupture." Photo via Atelier Thierry Dreyfus.
That last one, the iconic Italian line, has its own room within LightForm’s showroom. Of note in the Flos space is a striking horizontal crack on the wall as you enter the room; the illuminated gold interior resembles the cut quartz of purple Brazilian geode. Designed by Thierry Dreyfus, it’s officially called a "Wall Rupture." Also brilliant and notable is the “Wallpiercing,” described as an “adaptive lighting system” by its creator, New York–based Israeli artist Ron Gilad.
Example of a Ron Gilad "wallpiercing." Photo via designboom.
As I walk through the space fondling the fixtures, I meet up with LightForm founder Richard Assaly. Exceptionally likeable, and a no-small-talk type, I suspect he could convince you to climb the Himalayas (because it would be good for the soul) over wine-and-cheese conversation.
LightForm Toronto, Marset display of Discoco pendants ($815, small chocolate; $1,910, large white). Photo by Seth Fluker.
I ask why he decided to open in Toronto now. “I’m from out west, but Toronto really is the centre of everything, and we realized it was time,” says Assaly, who, like his light fixtures, seems to glow — he’s that passionate. “Even my favourite restaurants are in this area, around Queen Street.”
If someone comes in and asks for a bathroom light, what might he say? “We are trusted advisors. We are not really a store — we’re like doctors. We’re specialists. We’re consultants. We live and breathe lighting. I would ask the person, Who uses the bathroom? and Will you be putting on makeup there? and What light is already there? and What’s the electrical capacity?”
LightForm Toronto, Metalarte display, Lewit M family ($595, m 40; $678, m 47; $789, m 60). Photo by Seth Fluker.
Lighting, Assaly is telling us, should be a considered purchase. He escorts me to the communal table at the centre of the store. “It’s like when you go to Apple,” he says, “you can stop and set up your laptop.” Visitors at LightForm, he says, are encouraged to take their time to show consultants their specs, or the look they’re after.
Roofer light by Benjamin Hubert for Fabbian.
Feel free to test the pieces, adds Jentry Chin, the man behind the showroom’s look. “We like people to do that.” By way of example, he plucks off (what look to be) magnetic pieces from a green-shingled shade called Roofer, by Benjamin Hubert for Fabbian — killer in a room with gold accents — and rearranges the pattern right in front of us.
Jallum candle light by Yann Kersalé for Baccarat ($3,000).
Another unusual fixture I love is by Baccarat, a sexy French brand that has collaborated with Jaime Hayon, Marcel Wanders and other heavyweights. I pick up a handcrafted LED-lit crystal wand from a chic black case (in the majority of instances, the packaging here is very cool); designed by Yann Kersalé, this wand is a modular, rechargeable cylinder called a Jallum candle light ($3,000). What it really constitutes is jewellery for your tabletop, ideal anywhere you need a shot of sparkle at a party or dinner.
Endless light by Jason Miller for Roll & Hill ($4,471).
Be still my heart, I also go ga-ga for Roll & Hill, an outfit of New York City designers. A chic industrial suspended tube light, designed by Jason Miller and beautifully dubbed Endless ($4,471), can be fashioned in such a way that you can add on another tube to, say, snake around a wall.
SOLAR light by Jean Marie Massaud for Foscarini ($1,376).
Then again, why not rejuvenate that new deck with Foscarini’s not-so-primitive hearth light, a table that glows yet retains its sculptural presence when the light is off. Designed by Jean Marie Massaud and debuted at Milan Design Week 2011, the line is called SOLAR ($1,376) — so-named not for the way it is powered, but for its metaphoric visual effect.
“It’s really an emotional piece. It’s creating this moment,” says Foscarini CEO Glenn Ludwig, in town from NYC, pointing out that the seat beside the table (which also glows) has dark and light banding that changes depending on if the light is on or off.
LightForm Toronto, Marie Coquine by Phillippe Starck for Baccarat ($38,000). Photo by Seth Fluker.
You must not miss the visual extravaganza that is Phillippe Starck’s Marie Coquine for Baccarat (the display at LightForm Toronto is #20 of a lot of 130, never to be reproduced): this zany, limited-edition 14-foot-long installation inspired by Mary Poppins sees a crystal chandelier dangling provocatively from beneath an umbrella. The fixture hangs off of what looks like the large dollies used on film sets. On the fixture’s opposite end is a leather punching bag with saddle stitching (which I don’t get, but looks cool nonetheless). The lot costs $38,000. So, yes, start saving now.
Still, don’t dismay over that admittedly ultra-luxe price, or any of the others listed above. LightForm also carries options to illuminate your life with a really nice fixture that costs $150. Everything’s illuminating, and everything’s in stock — so go get your glow on!