Train Car: B Hemmings & Co, Toronto
dkstudio architects, Toronto
Photography by Larry Arnal Photography / dkstudio architects
Last year, upscale luggage and leather goods retailer Betty Hemmings rebranded as B Hemmings & Co and relocated to an impressive new store in Toronto’s Yorkville district. The shop carries a range of exclusive, handmade artisanal brands, such as London’s Globe Trotter, established in 1897, which makes the Queen’s luggage. These luxury goods, like the new store, evoke the Roaring Twenties Art Deco glamour of the golden age of train travel. The main central room, with its vaulted ceiling framed by riveted bronze ribs, is an abstracted update of the interior of the fabled Venice Simplon-Orient-Express; its rear feature wall is made of 480 pressed and molded pieces of luggage leather. Rooms are linked with curved, metal-framed portals highlighted with metal frames like the bulkheads separating compartments on a train car. The façade’s riveted steel girders borrow from the architectural language of grand 19th-century railway terminals. And, say, who’s that dandified short Belgian with the egg-shaped head, twirling his pointy, pomaded moustache, at the men’s wallet bar? Why, it’s Hercule Poirot!