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Nienkamper celebrates 50th anniversary in characteristic good style


Many of the brightest stars in the Toronto A&D firmament glittered at Nienkamper’s golden jubilee party, held across the street from Nienkamper’s King Street East showroom, on the 17th-floor party room of the Globe and Mail Centre. On the lineup for Klaus’s book signing, Stella McTernan, of her eponymous interior design firm, reminisced about her days as a junior designer at Rice Brydone while specifying furniture for Petrocan headquarters in Calgary (now the Suncor Centre), completed in 1984. “The client asked why so much furniture was being ordered from just one firm, a Toronto company called Nienkamper,” McTernan recalled. She replied, “Because they make the best furniture”—and they still do.

Klaus Nienkamper Jr., president of the Klaus by Nienkamper retail store on King Street East, with his six-year-old twins, Otto and Oliver.

Klaus Nienkamper Jr., president of the Klaus by Nienkamper retail store on King Street East, with his six-year-old twins, Otto and Oliver.

Brad Collard, senior associate at interior design firm Bartlett & Associates with his boss, the eponymous Inger Bartlett.

Brad Collard, senior associate at interior design firm Bartlett & Associates with his boss, the eponymous Inger Bartlett.

Toronto-born design superstar Karim Rashid, wearing his trademark whites, and Klaus Nienkamper raise a toast after giving brief speeches.

Toronto-born design superstar Karim Rashid, wearing his trademark whites, and Klaus Nienkamper raise a toast after giving brief speeches.

Kevin Karst, creator of Nienkamper’s Karst side-table series and designer and builder of custom cabinetry and furniture; and his wife, Gal Vanstone, associate professor and co-ordinator, Culture and Expression, York University; flank furniture design development consultant Tom David of Ekte-Stil (“True Style” in Norwegian), who managed Nienkamper’s seating division from 2005 to 2015; and David’s wife, Julie, payroll admin at retail installations manufacturer Somerville.

Kevin Karst, creator of Nienkamper’s Karst side-table series and designer and builder of custom cabinetry and furniture; and his wife, Gal Vanstone, associate professor and co-ordinator, Culture and Expression, York University; flank furniture design development consultant Tom David of Ekte-Stil (“True Style” in Norwegian), who managed Nienkamper’s seating division from 2005 to 2015; and David’s wife, Julie, payroll admin at retail installations manufacturer Somerville.

Marvin Lemus, admin at interior design firm Powell & Bonnel (PB); Matthew Newton, designer at interior design firm DCA Design (DCA); Kiyoshi Sakurai, designer, PB; Beatrix Branya, senior designer, DCA; and Albert Limshue, senior designer, PB.

Marvin Lemus, admin at interior design firm Powell & Bonnel (PB); Matthew Newton, designer at interior design firm DCA Design (DCA); Kiyoshi Sakurai, designer, PB; Beatrix Branya, senior designer, DCA; and Albert Limshue, senior designer, PB.

University of Western Ontario freshman, bass-guitar player and lawyer aspirant Kiefer Hayward, son of Rebecca Nienkamper and New York photographer Blaise Hayward; and his aunt, Priya Arora, Rebecca’s sister-in-law and executive director, Capital Markets, CIBC.

University of Western Ontario freshman, bass-guitar player and lawyer aspirant Kiefer Hayward, son of Rebecca Nienkamper and New York photographer Blaise Hayward; and his aunt, Priya Arora, Rebecca’s sister-in-law and executive director, Capital Markets, CIBC.

Pirkko Shalden, president of her eponymous HR consultancy and widow of Dean Shalden, the former long-time Canadian Interiors editor and side-table designer for Nienkamper; and Tracy Bowie, the recently retired former czarina of IIDEX, now a consultant to Interior Designers of Canada.

Pirkko Shalden, president of her eponymous HR consultancy and widow of Dean Shalden, the former long-time Canadian Interiors editor and side-table designer for Nienkamper; and Tracy Bowie, the recently retired former czarina of IIDEX, now a consultant to Interior Designers of Canada.

From interior design firm Bullock+Wood Design: Donna Wood, president; Paula Santos, director, marketing and admin; Angela Kisielewski, project designer; Jacquie Claassen, design director; and Zinnia Bookwala, project designer.

From interior design firm Bullock+Wood Design: Donna Wood, president; Paula Santos, director, marketing and admin; Angela Kisielewski, project designer; Jacquie Claassen, design director; and Zinnia Bookwala, project designer.

Talk about family resemblance! Klaus Nienkamper’s sister, Doris Hogenkamp, who flew in from Mulheim, Germany, for the party, explained that their mother’s antique store sparked young Klaus’s interest in furniture. Beatrix Nienkamper’s friend Kristina Charles, formerly of the Swedish Travel Commission.

Talk about family resemblance! Klaus Nienkamper’s sister, Doris Hogenkamp, who flew in from Mulheim, Germany, for the party, explained that their mother’s antique store sparked young Klaus’s interest in furniture. Beatrix Nienkamper’s friend Kristina Charles, formerly of the Swedish Travel Commission.

The star and his entourage: Jasmine Virginia, business development manager at ShopKarim; his coolness, Karim Rashid; and his agent, Nicole Potvin, president, Verve Projects.

The star and his entourage: Jasmine Virginia, business development manager at ShopKarim; his coolness, Karim Rashid; and his agent, Nicole Potvin, president, Verve Projects.

Angie Fletcher, acrylic artist showing at the Kingston Road Art Walk in June, and her industrial designer husband, Lee. He and mechanical engineer Terry Woodside are partners at industrial design firm Fig40. Nienkamper will officially unveil their Best of Canada Award-winning Perplex Bench at NeoCon in June.

Angie Fletcher, acrylic artist showing at the Kingston Road Art Walk in June, and her industrial designer husband, Lee. He and mechanical engineer Terry Woodside are partners at industrial design firm Fig40. Nienkamper will officially unveil their Best of Canada Award-winning Perplex Bench at NeoCon in June.

Beatrix Nienkamper, wife of Klaus, who was proprietor of the family leather accessories boutique on Davenport Road back in the day, flanked by their daughters Rebecca and Ottilie, who handle the family firm’s media relations and marketing, respectively.

Beatrix Nienkamper, wife of Klaus, who was proprietor of the family leather accessories boutique on Davenport Road back in the day, flanked by their daughters Rebecca and Ottilie, who handle the family firm’s media relations and marketing, respectively.

Dee Chenier, who heads interior design firm DCA Associates; and Eleanor Brydone, now retired, whose former firm, Rice Brydone, was arguably Canada’s leading office design firm from the 1970s to the Nineties.

Dee Chenier, who heads interior design firm DCA Associates; and Eleanor Brydone, now retired, whose former firm, Rice Brydone, was arguably Canada’s leading office design firm from the 1970s to the Nineties.

Life and business partners Philip Hastings and Valerie Gow of Gow Hastings Architects, who met while they were students at UBC.

Life and business partners Philip Hastings and Valerie Gow of Gow Hastings Architects, who met while they were students at UBC.

Klaus at the book-signing table, where each Nienkamper-branded goodie bag held a copy, hot off the press, of Nienkamper: 50 Years of Excellence from Design to Delivery.

Klaus at the book-signing table, where each Nienkamper-branded goodie bag held a copy, hot off the press, of Nienkamper: 50 Years of Excellence from Design to Delivery.


Photography by David Lasker.