Why Uneven Floors Might be a Good Thing

403architecture's texture-rich flooring

403architecture’s texture-rich flooring

Outside of funhouses and roller rinks, warped floors are usually considered a defect rather than a virtue. They make it impossible to place furniture (unless you like wobbly tables), are the bane of health and safety nuts (two words: trip hazard) and often warrant a call to a contractor (it’s possible the subfloor needs replacing).

But avant garde architects and interior deisgners have been embracing uneven surfaces for the past few years. It’s partially for the aesthetics — there’s something undeniably striking, even if disconcerting, about a rippling ground plane — and partially for the health benefits. An influential 2005 study by the Oregon Research Institute suggested that walking on uneven terrain lowers blood pressure and improves balance (which diminishes the inherent trip risks). The scholarship only confirmed what practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have long believed — that walking on challenging topography is a good idea (which is why many elderly in China make a routine of strolling, dancing and standing on rugged, cobblestone walking paths).

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Coveted: Igloo Design’s Gorgeous Bar Cart

Anna Abbruzzo's Bar Cart

Anna Abbruzzo’s Bar Cart

As co-founder of Montreal’s award-winning Igloo Design, Anna Abbruzzo has worked on restaurant interiors, homes, websites, brand strategies and business cards. Furniture, though, was something she always wanted to try. Creating the perfect piece requires a deep knowledge of ergonomics, finesse with finicky materials and the ability to work with really tiny wheels. That’s why it took a full year (and countless iterations) to develop her first effort – an elegant trolley, the kind that was popular in the 1920s for serving tea or cocktails. The cart is both subtle and luminous, with its sleek Art Deco lines and shimmering brass finish. $4,500. For more information, contact hello@igloodesign.ca.

This piece originally appeared in the Globe and Mail on Thursday, January 17, 2013.

Coveted: A Sealskin Cell Phone Pouch

Kiluk's Sealskin iPhone Holder

Kiluk’s sealskin iPhone holder

It can take a long time for trendy tech to reach the remote Canadian north. The iPhone, for example, came to Nunavut in 2008, a year after the rest of the country (which, in cellphone years, is an eternity). But when the latest gadget arrives, it gets a uniquely northern welcome from designer Sherlyn Kadjuk. At her Arviat, Nunavut-based studio, Kiluk, she hand-makes laptop bags, iPad cases and smartphone covers out of sealskin. The silvery totes are sleek and sophisticated, but the fur adds the kind of warmth and coziness that could only come from one of the coldest regions on Earth — the shores of Hudson Bay. From $37.50. Through ivalu.ca.

This piece originally appeared in the Globe and Mail on Thursday, January 3, 2013.