Category Archives: Housewares

The Big Sale. It's Big, and It's a Sale.

Well, it’s finally starting to feel like spring, and we all know what that means:


No? Okay then, let’s try:


That’s right. In honour of the season and its renewing, motivating forces, we’ve decided to comb through our collection at the 401 Richmond store and reduce prices on a selection of products, books and magazines for pretty much all of the next month. It’s the inaugural Big Sale, and it’s aptly named, unlike our former annual Sidewalk Sale (which we were never actually allowed to have on the sidewalk).

Big Sale offerings include Bodoni’s mammoth Manual of Typography from Taschen;
$5 back issues of magazines and annuals such as Communication Arts, Archive and Print; a mixture of classic and contemporary products from Nava, Arzberg, Umbra, imm Living and Rosti; information-loaded digital weather-station clocks designed by Philippe Starck; past issues of the architecturally uplifting 2G Magazine (which has – rather sadly – just gone digital with the newest issue, so grab those printed copies while you can); and some elegant one-off pieces of silverware (because really, who says you need a table setting of four?).

We’ll be discounting these items, and more, right through to Sunday, May 26, when we’ll be open for the final day of Doors Open Toronto. (Another excellent reason to visit the 401 Richmond building, and Swipe in particular.)


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit Swipe at 401 Richmond Street West, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or email us at

Drinking Water, on Tap

Okay, so filling a glass bottle with water and whacking a flip-top seal on it is hardly revolutionary, but the folks at tap water are determined to relegate plastic-bottled water to the annals of shame. Buying bottled water is an indulgence; it’s wasteful; chemicals inevitably leach into what you drink; producing the bottles and breaking them down again uses up a hefty chunk of natural resources; fewer than 20 percent of bottles are actually ever recycled; and it’s bad for the fish (not to mention everything that eats them, including us).

The tap water website has more information on all of this. And we have the tap water bottles. They’re simple, sleek and sturdy, with a clean design. They’re made from resilient but lightweight glass, with strong clasps and rubber seals. And unless you smash them (and you’d have to make an effort), they’re the ultimate in reusability. Available in three sizes – the large 1 litre, the medium 500 ml and the super-cute little 250 ml – they’re equally at home on your dinner table, your office desk or in your handbag or backpack.

So if you’re not already a convert to glass, come and check them out. And if you are, then maybe you can convert a friend. Or a co-worker. Or your parents.

tap water bottle, large (1 L / 32 oz): $19.95
tap water bottle, medium (500 ml / 17 oz): $14.95
tap water bottle, small (250 ml / 9 oz): $11.95

Serve Your Cake and Eat It Too

Bad puns aside, Arne Jacobsen’s sleek Cake Server will add modernist flair to your cake-serving ceremonies this holiday season. Hell, it might even make your cake taste better! AJ cutlery was designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1957 for the restaurant in the Royal SAS Hotel in Copenhagen, a project on which he was also the architect. Manufactured in stainless steel by Georg Jensen, AJ has been in continuous production since it was designed. With its modern, simplified lines, AJ was deemed a sufficiently radical departure from traditional cutlery design that it was featured as a prop in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. A range of pieces are available at Swipe, but the cake server, at $69.95, is a perennial favourite.

AJ Cake Server: $69.95

Why We're Here

twergipeppermillA young advertising student dropped by the store the other day. Having selected Swipe as the subject for a mock ad campaign he wanted to ask a few questions about the shop, its philosophy and its target market. We obliged, and once again discovered that articulating the shop’s logic is always a useful exercise. The consistent theme throughout the interview was our sense of obligation to the creative community. A somewhat inappropriate counterpoint was a rather childish sense of responsibility to the objects themselves and, to a lesser degree, to their designers. Inappropriate, in that the reaction is an irrational, primarily emotional one. Good designs that are obscure, unfashionable or, for economic reasons, difficult to source seem, well, hard-done-by. Lonely and sad they wait for the day when someone notices them. It is hard to believe that in 1994, the year we started carrying Stelton, the line was otherwise virtually unavailable in Toronto. Or that in 2000 we were one of only two Marimekko dealers in the city. When, in 1995, we first started stocking [popup url=""]Toikka birds[/popup] from Iittala, we were told by a college design professor that they didn’t belong in the shop because “they aren’t design, they’re kitsch”. At this point, all of these lines are available at shops throughout the city and, consequently, we have scaled back our selection to a few under-represented items (for example the lovely ashtray that is the heart of Jacobsen’s Cylinda Line).

Twergi Pepper Mill & Salt Grinder
? 1989: Ettore Sottsass

In 1988 Alessi acquired a centuries old Italian firm, Piazza Battista, that specialized in making small turned-wood kitchenwares. One year later, Alessi launched its inaugural wooden product line under the Twergi brand name (logo by Milton Glaser). Most of the items were designed by the late Ettore Sottsass and feature his trademark extravagant use of colour and pattern. With a distinctly unfashionable post-modern flavour, much of the line has since been retired. This pepper mill and the matching salt grinder are among our favourite products. And, yes, lonely and sad they wait for the day when someone notices them.

Pepper Mill: $159.95
Salt Grinder: $121.95


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: