Retail

Why You Can’t Leave Canada Without Visiting Mjölk

Eight years into owning their lifestyle shop, founders Juli and John Baker are still crossing borders, bringing to Canada an international aesthetic.

Eight years into owning their lifestyle shop, founders Juli and John Baker are still crossing borders, bringing to Canada an international aesthetic.

Walk into Mjölk and a Miles Davis LP might be spinning in the background, a Finn Juhl chair and Masanobu Ando sake cup vibrating to its rhythm nearby. Jazz music is Juli and John Baker’s choice for their lifestyle shop in Toronto’s Junction neighborhood—a uniquely American complement to the Nordic furniture and Japanese housewares that fill the sunlit space. Following a trip to Scandinavia and later Japan, the husband-and-wife team drew a parallel between the aesthetics of the two regions, and in 2009 opened an independent store which they named Mjölk (Swedish for “milk”).

(Photos: Titus Chan)

Eight years in, and with globalization charging at an accelerated rate all the while, the specific provenance of pieces on display are a bit harder to pin down. “There’s been a constant dialogue between cultures,” John says. “We are getting our best examples of design through these cross pollinations.” This cultural mix is what has informed their more recent buying ethos, a theory best exemplified by the shop’s current exhibition, “Dialogues in Silver,” by Mami Hasegawa, an artist who blends styles that emerged from ancient trade in Egypt and the Islamic Middle East with her own Japanese background. Understanding that design has no boundaries, Hasegawa shapes her vision across time, and across borders. “There’s a great appreciation,” he adds, referring to these cross-cultural exchanges. “I think that’s why this works—they give each other something.”

Pieces by Mami Hasegawa for the “Dialogues in Silver” exhibition. 6
Design
Pieces by Mami Hasegawa for the “Dialogues in Silver” exhibition.
(Photos: Blaise Misiek)
Pieces by Mami Hasegawa for the “Dialogues in Silver” exhibition.

Pieces by Mami Hasegawa for the “Dialogues in Silver” exhibition.

Pieces by Mami Hasegawa for the “Dialogues in Silver” exhibition.

Pieces by Mami Hasegawa for the “Dialogues in Silver” exhibition.

Pieces by Mami Hasegawa for the “Dialogues in Silver” exhibition.

Pieces by Mami Hasegawa for the “Dialogues in Silver” exhibition.

Back to List