According to the street signs, Queen West's art and design district officially ends at the Dufferin Street railway underpass. But a few design lovers are venturing to the other side of the tracks. Earlier this year, Jamie Cheveldeyoff, owner of the eclectic furniture shop Koma Designs, launched Koma Furniture Gallery, an exhibition space dedicated to the art of furniture design. Located in the basement of his Parkdale store, the gallery has played host to eco-conscious seating by the Brothers Dressler (their 'Another Time Another Airport' bench incorporates wooden conveyor belts salvaged from an old factory), as well as the vast and various works of innovative design troupe Vest Collective.
Cheveldeyoff, whose blonde dreads hint at his down-to-earth philosophy and easygoing style, aims to shake up the city's design scene with an infusion of boho street cred. An art designer for music videos who also makes furniture, he opened Koma to showcase independent designers whose work wasn't getting enough expouse. "I wanted to create a space where they could be discovered," says the fun-loving 31-year-old. And people are taking notice. During the Dresslers' exhibition, two pieces caught the attention of local design-scribe Kelly Rude. Impressed with their work, Rude recommended them for a curated exhibit during the International Furniture Fair in MIlan. Within days the Dresslers had their table and seat crated and whisked off to the design capital. From the other side of the tracks to the other side of the pond. Not bad at all.