b hemmings & co.
client: b hemmings & co.
location: toronto, canada
type: luxury retail
dkstudio was chosen to be executive designer and PM for the upscale luggage and leather goods retailer Betty Hemmings, who rebranded as B Hemmings & Co and relocated to an impressive new store in Toronto’s Yorkville district; a high-density neighbourhood renowned for its high-end shops, boutiques and chic restaurants. An upscale multi-brand leather goods and luggage retailer, B Hemmings carries a range of exclusive artisanal brands, some over 100 years old.
A unifying theme of the brands is that they all represent a tradition of hand craftsmanship from a by-gone era. It was an era of travel by boat and train where luggage was hand stitched and crafted, as were the train and boat rooms and cabins one would take to embark on a journey like, the Orient Express.
The design concept draws from the tradition of luxury train cars from this romantic age of the train travel. Each room of the boutique became a different compartment of a classic train, linked with curved, metal-framed portals highlighted with metal frames like the bulkheads separating compartments on a train car.
The main central room floats a vaulted ceiling, bronze trims, wood and leather, reminiscent of the grand days of the fabled Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. This room features a floating arched ceiling framed by riveted bronze trim plates. This central train car houses the Globe-Trotter collection, the boutique's most iconic brand. Much like classic steam trains, each component of the boutique is precisely milled and crafted, and carefully assembled by hand on site.
The rear central feature wall utilizes 480 pressed and molded corner pieces of luggage, perfectly fitted on a sculpted 3-dimensional backdrop, a sculptural composition alluding to a stacked wall of luggage.
The arched train car roof was featured in different parts of the store: the curved portals highlighted with metal frames leading into each room like compartments of a train; the facade display windows, and the main entrance arches. The same language is explored throughout the facade, where the language of classic 19th century train stations made of riveted steel girders was re-invented with new materials.
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.
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!