King Swede East
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King Swede East

King Street East is known for its high-end furniture retailers like Roche Bobois and UpCountry, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see the logo for everyone’s guilty pleasure, IKEA, on a classy King Street storefront.
Torontoist reader Sofi Papamarko asked us to investigate this mysterious downtown presence of the eco-conscious Swedish giant, suggesting that it could be an office furniture location or a boutique IKEA (similar to the Leon’s planned for the Roundhouse or the downscaled Brick store at College Park). The windows at 143 King Street tease a date of July 31, 2008—which curiously is the same day that IKEA releases their annual catalogue.
“It’s not a store,” a rep for the company told Torontoist, “but it is a place where customers can check out products from the 2009 catalogue.”
A furniture showroom where you can’t buy anything on-site is an interesting concept, but it’s also smart: the showroom can be tailored to the dense condo market (which demands smaller items and is more likely to request home delivery), but it also avoids the bad press surrounding warehouse-style box stores in the city core. Plus, it’s right on the spårvagnen, er, streetcar line, so no trips out to Etobicoke or North York just for a look-see at the Poopli pencil holder.
Aesthetes rejoice, for the store boasts none of IKEA’s trademark blue-and-yellow, but subtle gold logos decaled on the windows, appropriate for the historic architecture between Jarvis and Church.
We’re curious to see what exactly appears on July 31, as three floors of the building are under heavy construction inside. The showroom is a contrast to the premium-priced wares of King East strip, and if you ask us, det är bra!
Photo by Marc Lostracco.