Globe and Mail blogTO by Craig
August ,2008 /
"Alliens and Viking Thrones at Koma Designs "

Koma seems like the sort of place from a 1970's sci-fi movie, as if a funky device was invented to holographically project dreams. It sounds innocent enough, but then someone went and connected it up to Terry Gilliam after he got home from a particularly good party. It's Industrial Modern with a dose of Vintage and a lot of something else. I call it "Industrial Theme Park".

Being in this store is exactly like being in someone else's head. Koma's owner, a dreadlock-sporting super-friendly guy named Jamie, has been collecting things for years. When both of his apartments were filled from floor to ceiling, opening a store was the only option left. He started in movie work and now rents props for production, but he also stages homes for sale. One lamp was in the Hulk, for example, and his surgical lights graced more than a few feature films. The orbiting surgical lights are definitely Monty Python-esque.

I felt a slightly religious sensation. The smurf Buddha near the entrance sets the tone, and the incense multiplies the ethereal sensation. The artefacts in Koma are displayed almost reverentially. It's a storage space for relics belonging to a religion from an alternate time line. For example, I just don't know what to say about the alien in the baby carriage. It's immensely, ... immensely. It must have something to do with the mushrooms by the door. Maybe they're special mushrooms.

Jamie isn't into designer stuff. He likes things to be tough, durable, and, oh yeah, juxtaposed. That word glides into this store effortlessly and makes itself at home. Jamie likes to juxtapose everything. "If you've got a room filled with Moroccan stuff, it looks nice, but it's kind-of boring. I want things to pop out at you." He says, "I love thick pieces of glass, heavy plastic, coarse fabric, hand-smoothed wood, metal, anything that's not finely finished."

He also loves to give old things a new lease on life, and he makes and modifies furniture. In the basement, he has a table built with working bicycle wheels. There's an ultra-low sofa made from a recycled 1970's frame and a warehouse trolley that might be useful in a kitchen. "People who come here are usually 25-45 years old. The over-40 set are mostly still into baskets and Pier One Imports stuff." That said, he says his functional pieces go quickly.