Umbra Concept Store

The Umbra Concept Store, located at 165 John Street one block north of the Queen Street West Shopping District, was built in 2007. It is the first store to be opened by The Umbra Company. The Umbra Company is a Toronto based design company that specialises in affordable home products, the design of the new concept store shows the design methdology of the company.The building is clad in 300 vibrant pink panels that act as an excellent representation of what lies within the store. The panels do this by copying the bold colour and straight lines the Umbra Company works with. This use of external shades also gives visual reference to the company’s name Umbra or “shade”.  These pink panels are very different from the surrounding building make it iconic in the area drawing pedestrians toward the store. In contrast to the exterior, the interior of the building does its best to play down the colour to show off the products, with clean white lines that both mimic and showcase the products. To make the experience of shopping there pleasant and take away some of starkness of the white, the panels are clad on massive windows on the south side; this allows pink tinged light to filter through, during the night this effect is created by LED lights embedded in the panels. The many windows create an open feeling and this is played on throughout the plan.  The two story space is actually made out of two half stories connected by a glass enclosed lobby that provides more visual continuity to each other than a standard two story space.  The Umbra Store is as whimsical, light and playful in design as the products the Umbra Company produces. 

This picture was taken John Street and it showcases the vibrancy of the pink panels that make up the facade.

Smith, Leslie C. “In the Pink: a going concern for more than 25 years, Umbra – the  Canadian-born purveyor of affordable design – opens its very first store.” Canadian Interiors. October 2007: 78-81. Print.

Osborne, Catherine. “Pretty in Pink:Umbra.” Azure. 2007: 148-151. Print.

Von Hahn, Karen. “Umbra’s new flagship offers design in action .” Globe and Mail Jun. 2006, weekend. Ed. Print.

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