Canadian design company Castor Design Studio ("castor" is French for beaver and is the scientific name for the large tree-loving semi-aquatic rodent) is not only breaking new ground with innovative, slightly irreverent work, it also is winning awards and accolades well outside of its native land. Not an easy task for Canadian designers who seem to have to work a little harder to be taken seriously.
Toronto-based Castor was founded in 2006 by Brian Richer, an architectural stone carver with a savvy aesthetic who tired of climbing churches to carve gargoyles and who had a passion for design, nature, and the reuse of ubiquitous materials. A force with endless ideas, Richer and his partner Kei Ng have been making waves north of the border for sometime, with representation at retail heavyweights Klaus Nienkamper in Toronto.
Work coming out of the design collective has gone beyond furniture and lighting into full-scale restaurant design. The now-closed Oddfellows and the bustling Parts & Labour restaurant and Parts & Labour Burger in Toronto are both Castor designs. Richer is also signed up with Gallery House, an art gallery in Toronto, for a show of his more personal pieces that cross over into the art world.
Go see Castor's work during ICFF next month in New York, as part of the Design Junction where the studio will be showing off its latest line, Black Metal Collection (a name inspired by a line in the 1984 movie Spinal Tap). And below, take a peek at some of my favorite indoor/outdoor pieces that make Castor furniture and accessories ideal for interiors and gardens alike.
Above: As a garden designer, I can blissfully fall prey to the beauty of the English style perennial borders and their love of plants, but at times I like to break up the romance with a bit of "edge" and the Indiana limestone Castor Stool adds a welcome foil to some of the gardens I design; $2,300 CAD.
Above: Blind Stool is cast in aluminum, from an original piece found in a hunter's duck blind in northern Ontario. It's a collaboration between Castor and an unknown hunter. The leather handle is designed for a quick getaway. It's great as single piece or can be purchased at bar height in multiples for an outdoor covered bar; $2,350 CAD.
Above: A portable sauna designed out of a half shipping container, as functional as it is beautifully articulated, is a party-in-a-box that can be easily added to a landscape for a-well-worth-it but not-so-affordable price. See more in tomorrow's Outbuilding of the Week.
Above: Plated Tank Lights made from recycled fire extinguishers make a great grouping under a covered terrace. The 5-pound tank is $480 CAD and the 10-pound tank is $560 CAD. For a more colorful take on the lamps, the Tank Light also comes in black, blue, gray, orange, and red finishes.
Above: A peek at the blacker-than-black bowls from the new Black Metal Collection; they're off-cuts from the Tank lights. They are recut, stripped, polished, and painted a matte black finish on the outer side and have a reflective interior.
Above: The Cast Antler in bronze or aluminum is a decorative piece at home in the garden or by the hearth; $2,850 CAD.
For more from Castor see Style + Sustainability: Lighting from Castor Design and Controversy in Toronto: Parts & Labour Restaurant and Club on Remodelista.
Are you spiffing up an outdoor space for spring? Browse all of our favorite Outdoor Furniture picks.