RH, aka Restoration Hardware, opened its massive four-level Toronto Yorkdale Shopping Centre flagship last week, and the space is impressive. The store looks like a spectacular mansion, with indoor and outdoor retail spaces, a courtyard café, Interactive design atelier, and rooftop conservatory/park.
The flagship spans a total of almost 70,000 square feet of interior and exterior space, including entire floors dedicated to RH Interiors, RH Modern and RH Outdoor. This store also includes an interactive Design Atelier, offering professional interior design services in a studio environment.
"The vision for our new design galleries has been to blur the lines between residential and retail, and create spaces that are more home than store. The next logical step was to further blur the lines between home and hospitality, with an integrated restaurant, wine and coffee bar," says RH Chairman & CEO Gary Friedman."What we are doing goes far beyond attaching a restaurant onto a store – that's been done before. What's unique is we've created a completely integrated hospitality experience, led by famed Chicago restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff, that reflects our taste, style and point of view. We're proud to bring this first-of-its-kind concept to Toronto, one of the most metropolitan cities in the world," he said.
Mr. Sodikoff is the founder, CEO and creative director of rapidly growing Chicago-based restaurant group Hogsalt Hospitality, which now boasts 14 concepts and 15 locations.
RH Yorkdale’s initial design was by architect James Gillam of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger, and Toronto-based architectural firm Quadrangle completed the drawings, coordinated final design details, obtained city approvals, oversaw construction and ensured that the RH brand goals and design concept was faithfully executed in the final building.
The following is a brief description of the store, floor-by-floor:
Ground Floor: Glass-and-steel French doors open onto a streetscape with Boston ivy, geometric topiaries and towering trees rising out of a continuous boxwood hedge. The gallery's eastern entrance, accessed from within the mall, features a terraced façade of Venetian plaster and a lush interior courtyard flanked by open-air loggias that act as the central location for the gallery's Courtyard Café. The restaurant includes banquette seating layered with green velvet boxwood hedging, cascading English ivy, trickling fountains, glimmering lanterns and 19th C. Rococo crystal chandeliers.
The store’s central hall, with impressive 14-foot ceilings, leads to the RH Barista Bar – a focal point that features a Tuscan colonnade and facet-edged limestone slabs. Fresh house-made doughnuts and pastries are among the offerings.
Barrel-vaulted passageways lead customers to a classical arrangement of rooms featuring RH Interiors collections from internationally renowned artisans and designers -- it's like walking from room-to-room in an impeccably decorated residence.
Second Floor: The RH Design Atelier is a 5,000-square-foot studio anchored by four, 15-foot custom tables that offer a fully integrated workspace for customers, designers and architects to design spaces both inside and out. A trained team of staff has access to RH's vast library of fabrics, leathers and furniture and lighting finishes. The Design Atelier also includes a Ben Soleimani rug showroom displaying the designer's hand-knotted and hand-woven rugs, as well as various other specialized galleries for window treatments. Bed and bath linens and bath hardware can also be found on the second floor.
Third Floor: A 12,000-square-foot exhibition space, called RH Modern, is one of the world’s largest curated and fully integrated assortments of modern furnishings, lighting and décor under one brand. The aesthetic is minimalist, with glass and steel French doors paired with Juliet balconies that line the perimeter of the floor.
Fourth Floor: At the top of the grand stairway is the ‘Conservatory and Rooftop Park’ — an impressive 12,000-square-foot garden space with towering banana palms, heritage olive trees, exotic succulents, and 20-foot ceilings. The indoor space opens onto a rooftop patio featuring mature Himalayan birch trees set within colossal steel planters accented with cascading English ivy. Open-air pavilions, chandeliers and trickling fountains can be found among vignettes of RH Outdoor collections, and there’s even a view of the CN Tower and Toronto skyline when looking southward on a clear day.
Overall, the space is very impressive and Yorkdale’s RH Gallery is worth a visit for anyone living or visiting the Toronto area. There’s nothing quite like it, and Yorkdale’s new Sporting Life store, which also opened a couple of weeks ago, is another beautiful new retail space in Canada’s most productive shopping centre.