Archive for the ‘Exhibits & Events’ Category

Join Us in Launching Young Frank, Architect: Thursday 10 October

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Please join us for a talk by award-winning illustrator and children’s author Frank Viva, followed by a book signing and light refreshments.

Frank will be doing a drawing demonstration for the little ones. (Children are welcome too …)

With its rich colour palette of greys, olives, ambers and cream (it’s printed using nine colours instead of the usual four), Young Frank, Architect is a gorgeous publication, an inspiration for budding architects and a lesson for those who think they’ve seen everything.

See our Facebook page for more details.

Christian Louboutin: Designer, Artist, Magician.

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

The extraordinary Christian Louboutin exhibition at the Design Exchange continues for another two and a half weeks, winding up on September 15.

This career-spanning celebration showcases twenty years of the French shoe designer’s theatrical, fantasy-forging creations, from Cinderella-worthy filigree stilettos, to heeled and tasselled leather boots, to a wealth of footwear for men (no less coloured, textured or studded, but with fewer 9-inch heels in evidence…).

“Fetish”, a darkly sensual side gallery of limited-edition, almost unwearable (and certainly unwalkable) shoes featured alongside their erotic photographic counterparts, was created in collaboration with filmmaker David Lynch.

For a less sadomasochistic experience, you can watch Dita Von Teese perform a cheeky burlesque every 30 minutes in the exhibition’s main gallery – a nod to the influence of showgirls and music halls on Louboutin’s work. Okay, so she’s just a hologram – courtesy of technological illusion makers Musion – but if you blur your eyes just a touch, it’s really quite convincing.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Christian Louboutin has designed a range of exclusive memorabilia, available for purchase at Swipe DX for the duration of the show. Items include a luxuriously soft, cashmere-and-modal scarf, a gold-brass keyring and necklace featuring iconic shoe and purse charms, a selection of glam notebooks and note cards, Louboutin tattoos, and his Little Red Guide to Toronto (complete with fold-out map).

Also available for purchase is the impressive monograph Christian Louboutin. Published by Rizzoli, this 304-page volume boasts gold-edged pages, elaborate fold-out binding and a stiletto-wearing pop-up. With interviews, behind-the-scenes photographs and a full catalogue of Louboutin’s work, it offers a comprehensive overview of the designer’s life, artistic and personal journey, and the intriguing history of his signature red-soled shoes.

Christian Louboutin by Christian Louboutin (with photographs by Philippe Garcia and David Lynch): $160
Christian Louboutin Tattoo Sheet: $9.95
Christian Louboutin’s Little Red Guide to Toronto: $22.50
Christian Louboutin Kaleidoscope Notebook: $44.95
Christian Louboutin Loubi Print Notebook (with sticky notes): $44.95
Christian Louboutin Kraft Notebook: $54.95
Christian Louboutin Note Cards (set of 8): $59.95
Christian Louboutin 20th Anniversary Keychain (with shoe charms): $174.95
Christian Louboutin Sweet Charity Necklace (with purse charm): $284.95
Christian Louboutin Scarf: $274.95

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

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

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

If You’re Happy and You Know It, Come to Swipe!

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Update: Our pop-up, Swipe DX, (at 234 Bay Street) has closed as of January 6, 2014.

The other Swipe. Yes, you heard (read) right. Other.

It’s funny how often we’re asked if we have another location. “Don’t you have a store down on…?” Or, “I’m sure you have a place up in…?” “Nope,” we’ve always replied. “You must be thinking of someone else.”

Well, as of right now we’re (temporarily) changing our tune, and returning to our old stomping ground, with the opening of Swipe DX | Books + Objects, our brand-spanking-new pop-up boutique at the Design Exchange: Canada’s Design Museum. Think of it as a mini Swipe. Swipe condensed. A Swipe espresso.

The shiny little space at Swipe DX will follow the same ethos of good design and high quality that has always characterized Swipe, with a savvy lineup of products, gifts and curiosities, and a streamlined selection of books on advertising and design, urban issues, architecture and interior design.

It’s a taste of all the good stuff. And it’s popping up for the duration of The Happy Show: acclaimed graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister’s latest exhibition and the culmination of ten years of typographic investigation and happiness exploration (“via meditation, cognitive therapy, and mood-altering pharmaceuticals”), on view at the Design Exchange from January 9 to March 3. (Tickets available via the DX website.)

Swipe DX hours are: 12pm to 5pm, 7 days a week. You’ll find us at 234 Bay Street, Toronto. For further information, contact us via the details to the right.

It’s the perfect (other) downtown drop-in spot for birthday shopping, or essential-for-the-office shopping, or I-needed-to-do-something-interesting-on-my-lunch-break shopping, or I’ve-got-to-meet-yesterday’s-deadline shopping. Or just for a browse and a chat. Whatever your reason, we hope to see you there soon.

Oh, and Swipe Design | Books + Objects, the main store, at 401 Richmond? We’ll be business as usual, with bright new books and sparkly new products in this happy, happy, happy, happy, happy new year.

Twice the Swipe. What could be better?

A Very Swipey Birthday

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

It’s not every year you turn 25. Especially when you’re an independent, physical bookstore in an increasingly virtual market. But this month we’re passing the quarter-century mark and we couldn’t be more honoured and excited. Without the loyalty of our customers, we couldn’t have reached this point, and we’re more than grateful for your ongoing interest and support.

Today’s Swipe – the light-filled, colourful space cocooned within the 401 Richmond art hub – is a far cry from the mail-order company that co-founders Tina Hadjidimitriou and David Michaelides opened in a Ryerson Avenue office in 1987. Back then, Tina visited creative agencies with catalogues in hand, took orders, and personally delivered the books. The pair opened their first retail store on Berkeley Street in 1989, with a focus squarely on advertising and design.

A successful bid to run the Design Exchange store in 1994 meant a five-and-a-half-year stint as Swipe/indx, with inventory expanding to include objects as well as books: examples of good design – classic, contemporary and notable – by both Canadian and international designers. These were the days of Swipe’s iconic-ad-mimicking campaign by Chiat/Day, under art director Gary Holme. “Our little store isn’t so much of a novelty anymore,” read the Swipe take on the famous “Think small” Volkswagen ad: “In fact, some people who visit our little boutique don’t even think 1,000 books on advertising and design is any big deal.”

Swipe (and its 1,000 books) moved to 477 Richmond Street West in early 2000, and finally relocated to the larger, current space at 401 Richmond Street West in 2008.

Today, Swipe still offers an impressive selection of books on advertising and design (from layout, to marketing, to typography, to textiles), and a diverse collection of design objects. Add to this our extensive range of publications on architecture, green design and urban issues, our high-quality gift items and our carefully chosen books and products for children, and you have one of the most eclectic and idea-packed stores in the city, if not the country. (Possibly the continent?)

So, happy birthday to us! We love what we do, and we’re thrilled to keep doing it. We’re already looking forward to turning 50, and with your continued support, we know it’s just a matter of time!

Open Them There Doors, Toronto

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Once again, Doors Open Toronto is just around the corner, and once again, we here at Swipe are thankful to be part of the extraordinary arts and culture complex at 401 Richmond Street West. A prime destination during the festival, 401 is expecting a surge of visitors over the weekend of May 26 and 27. Accordingly, Swipe will also open its doors all weekend: on Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and on Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

In celebration of this celebration of our city’s cultural, social and architectural heritage, we’ll be updating our blog with a rundown of current Torontoniana, beginning with a brand-new release from Toronto’s own Coach House Books that documents the changing facades of this city’s streets. Featuring the photographic work of Patrick Cummins, with text by Toronto flâneur Shawn Micallef, Full Frontal T.O.: Exploring Toronto’s Architectural Vernacular chronicles thirty years of local shift and change. (2012: Coach House Books; ISBN 9781551098913)

The book is available at Swipe for $24.95, and until May 31, you can also visit the Urbanspace Gallery’s free Full Frontal T.O. exhibition, with large-scale versions of many of the photographs on display.

Full Frontal T.O.: Exploring Toronto’s Architectural Vernacular
2012: Patrick Cummins and Shawn Micallef

Swipe at the Images Festival

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

At last year’s Images Festival, we held a shared pop-up store with Pages, in the Art Bar at the Gladstone Hotel. This year, we’re on our own turf in the 401 Richmond building, with a great selection of film-based books, DVDs and artists’ catalogues available for sale (including a number of imported and really-quite-hard-to-find titles). They’re here for a limited time only, so come and get them while you can.

Find us in the Images Festival “hub” in the Urbanspace Gallery, Suite 119, right next to Swipe headquarters. The pop-up store is open 12pm to 6pm daily throughout the festival, April 12 to 21. (Swipe itself, of course, is open regular Swipe hours, plus Sunday 15 April just for fun.)

Toronto’s second oldest film festival, the Images Festival had its beginnings in 1987 and is now the largest of its kind in North America for experimental and independent moving image culture. This is its 25th year. Visit the Images Festival website for more information, a listing of this year’s events, or to explore their exhibition archive.

A Frolicking Good Time

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Spring and Summer may now be fading memories, and the leaves of Fall all but off the trees and clogging up the gutters, but doesn’t the thought of impending snow simply make you want to frolic?

It’s certainly had that effect here at 401 Richmond, where plans are firmly in place for the first official Frolic – the building’s inaugural annual open house, and a celebration of the art, culture and community that make this place so inspiring to visit, and such an enviable spot to work.

From Thursday, December 8 to Sunday, December 11, there’ll be more artisans, artworks and amazingly creative gift ideas than you can poke a finely whittled stick at. The 401 Artisans Marketplace (now in its 19th year) runs across all four days, with late-shopping hours on Thursday and Friday, and Swipe in attendance with a collection of sale-priced goodies.


Of course, we’ll also have a delightfully tempting array of books and objects in store, including design books on everything from unventions to urbanism, the entire Lego Architecture series, new Aalto vase colours, quirky Takumi tea sets, recent additions to our children’s section from Kid-O, HaPe and Seedling, and instantly essential stocking stuffers. (Tried out the Tapi tap squeeze drink fountain yet?)

We’ll also be open every day from December 1 to 24 (except Sunday 18).

So come and frolic. Or just come and see us at Swipe.

Celebrate the World Premiere of Gary Hustwit’s New Design Documentary

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

On September 9th, we will be celebrating the world premiere of Urbanized as part of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Gary Hustwit (Helvetica/Objectified) returns with the final documentary in his design film trilogy.  Urbanized focuses on the design of cities and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, and thinkers, including Sir Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Jan Gehl, Oscar Niemeyer, Amanda Burden, Enrique Peñalosa, Alejandro Aravena, Eduardo Paes, Rahul Mehrotra, Ellen Dunham-Jones, Ricky Burdett, James Corner, Michael Sorkin, Bruce Katz, Candy Chang, Edgar Pieterse, and many more, including extraordinary citizens who have affected change in their cities.

Who is allowed to shape our cities, and how do they do it? And how does the design of our cities affect our lives? By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects in dozens of cities around the world, from massive infrastructure initiatives to temporary interventions, Urbanized frames a global discussion on the future of cities.

Check out the TIFF schedule here!

The Greenberg Revolution: City Building in the 21st Century

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Walking Home: The Life and Lessons of a City Builder

? 2011: Ken Greenberg

Ken Greenberg has worked in an enviable number of cities around the world – Amsterdam, New York, St. Paul, Montreal, Boston, San Juan, Toronto … we could keep going – and in his new book Walking Home he brings this experience and knowledge to a discussion of city building. Eschewing the negative outlook of many urban writings, Greenberg’s book is filled with positive, constructive dialogue about how we can improve the conditions in our cities, from building better public spaces, to increasing density in smart and sensitive ways, to connecting cities back to their waterfronts.

For Greenberg, city building is best done incrementally, inserting density and contemporary buildings into the existing fabric of the city, building upon what is already there as opposed to starting with a blank canvas. In this way we can create more dynamic and organic spaces, allowing our cities to evolve over time. He calls this an open-platform kind of city building; the role of the urban designer is to create flexible spaces that can adapted to different uses over time.

For Toronto, this book is both timely and important. It should be a wake-up call to those at City Hall: a reminder that city building takes work, courage and collaboration, but that the potential for vibrant places to live is worth it.

Walking Home enjoyed its official launch on Wednesday 25 May, and Swipe Design was thrilled to be partnering with 401 Richmond’s Urbanspace Gallery to perform the honours. Oh yes, and Greenberg was wielding his authorly pen on the night. (2011: Random House Canada; ISBN 9780307358141)