Like most good things, Room 2046, the new concept space and coffee shop at Yonge and Summerhill, was born out of an existential crisis. Kumala S. Nio quit her government job, and that week, she bought a ticket to South America. After extensive travels, she headed to Indonesia for a family wedding. “I discovered all these new, young designers in that region,” she says. “And that really propelled me to start a shop.”
The opening of Room 2046 makes us wonder if the Rosedale/Summerhill strip of Yonge isn’t on its way to becoming a new destination neighbourhood. Already packed with furniture shops, the ‘hood is also home to the Drake General Store, Petit Thuet and All The Best Fine Foods, great drinking and dining spots like Monk’s Table, Rebel House, and Le Petit Castor, and Black Camel, a gourmet sandwich shop worth a subway trip. Room 2046 is the perfect addition to such company, serving up amazing coffee in a space designed to inspire, filled with perfect gifts for aesthetically-inclined design junkies. Room 2046 is a multi-disciplinary brand, like Acne, where the retail space acts as an entry point for graphic design and film work.
Nio takes inspiration from travel, crafting her brand’s identity through trips to London, Copenhagen, Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro. “All these cities with so much creativity,” she explains. On her travels, she collects batik-print shoes handmade by a young female designer in Indonesia, or jewellery designed by a woman who used to be an architect in Buenos Aires, and brings them to her shop. Like Nio, many of the creators she showcases left behind uninspiring work to follow their passions. The designer behind a tailored collection of menswear shirts called Bob Carpenter used to work at the French embassy in India. “He would design his own shirts, and he always had a knack for it, so he started a line. It’s all about carving your own path.”
The store is filled with amazing pieces (seriously, we want Nio to hand-pick everything we own from now on. Girl’s got skills.) which you can enjoy with a delicious cup of coffee in hand. Stop by the next time you have to gift someone special with something that lives up to their unique self, or just visit for some inspiration. From the poured-concrete fixtures (designed by Nio and a friend) to the Eames rockers, it’s a great place to re-invigorate your creativity. Check out some of our favourite picks from the store in the collage above.
~ Words and photos by Haley Cullingham