Name: Metropolis Factory
Location: The Junction, Toronto
Size: 7,000 square feet
Years occupied: 15 months
The creative energy inside Metropolis Factory is
a living, breathing beast. It’s
difficult to know exactly how to describe this wild creature, as it serves a
multitude of purposes. First, it’s the workshop and showroom for Marco Pecota's innovative industrial furniture designs and Phil Freire’s extraordinary one-of-a-kind
salvaged, repurposed pieces. It also hosts a library of design-related reading
materials for their custom clients to browse while brainstorming fresh takes on
lovingly weathered concepts.
Most recently, they‘ve added a jaw-dropping “event space” to the list, hosting everything from weddings, product launches and parties to photo shoots and gallery showings. It’s the perfect backdrop for a dramatic occasion, with more raw character than a Woody Allen film.
The bones of the building itself, formerly home to the power plant that supported the old Viceroy Rubber & Plastics beginning in the 1930’s, tell as many
stories as the treasures found inside. This new use of epic rooms with 20-ft plus ceilings is perhaps the biggest repurposing
project of all. The first two levels are where Phil, Marco, and the talented Metropolis
Factory team construct (or de-construct, depending) and showcase their signature
pieces. The top two levels hold the offices where their divinely peculiar
conceptual seedlings are planted in sketchbooks and design software.
Phil Freire, best known for his smaller industrial salvage/repurpose boutique, Metropolis Living (also located in The Junction), has
mastered the art of unearthing authentic reminders of what came before, rebirthed
with an added twist. His vintage picking
missions remain unrivaled, supporting his gift for transforming out-of-use materials into hauntingly sublime must-have pieces.
Marco Pecota’s design focus takes a different
shape, exploring the world of "industrial elegance", with an edge. Glass, metals,
wood and leather become refined and bold all at once, with his signature
circle cut-outs and daring use of color a playful nod to reinvention.
Their custom work client list includes top restaurateurs, major department stores, residential projects, bars, and private
collectors. These guys have been enormously influential in the design scene’s industrial
renaissance, inspiring a number of reductive copycats. Maintaining their made-in-Canada integrity every step of the way, Marco and Phil are committed to keeping the manufacturing of each new Metropolis piece on Canadian soil, and every repurposed creation reconstructed here as well.
Metropolis Factory feels a bit like tumbling down
the rabbit hole into a Wonderland of industrial design gold, sprinkled with a
taste of Steampunk fantasy. It’s impossible to take in all at once, which is
perfect, because I was just looking for an excuse to return.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Vintage Industrial, Industrial Elegance.
Inspiration: The vintage industrial revolution, the machine age. Industrial
Favorite Element: The uncompromising raw industrial edge of the space.
Biggest Challenge: Bringing this abandoned power plant up to code.
What Clients Say: Clients are effectively stupefied upon entering. After wandering around
for a while they invariably say. "This is so f**king cool."
Proudest DIY: Marco: My Nautilus Table. Phil: My 1960's Streetlight Conversion Lamps (both shown in 2nd Showroom photos).
Biggest Indulgence: Even
setting up running water and having electricity and air conditioning felt like
an indulgence after having to wait for it to be installed for 6 months!
Best Advice: Hire a designer who "gets" your design aesthetic and is able to
push the envelope of the design. People are often to afraid to create something
spectacular. The truth is that most people do not know what they want until
they are shown an example of it. The designer has to recognize the client's
ambiguous desires and put them into a tangible form.
Dream Sources: Architectural Artifacts, Chicago. Pecota Design, Toronto.
Resources of Note:
Thanks, Metropolis Factory!
(Images: Justice Darragh)
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