“It sort of becomes an extension of my business,” he says of his dwellings. “I entertain quite a bit in my homes, too. Sometimes they want to buy something from it, so you just have to part with it.” Maybe it’s an antique, or a limited-edition piece that is no longer available—regardless, Weishaupt is just fine with bidding it adieu.
“It happens,” he says with a laugh when pressed on the matter. “That’s okay. Obviously I feel very blessed that I’m surrounded all the time by very beautiful things, so you become less attached to them in some regard.” There are, of course, certain pieces, such as a few inherited from his grandparents, that he could never part with—but overall, Weishaupt’s homes (he has one in Toronto and one in Miami, the latter of which also acts as a private showroom) are the best business cards he could ever produce.
Born Munich, Weishaupt launched Avenue Road in Toronto in 2007 with George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg (though he assumed full ownership in 2014). Since then, the company has blossomed into one of the industry’s most interesting luxury furniture purveyors, creating collections with internationally-coveted designers including Jasper Morrison, Christophe Delcourt, and Marlieke Van Rossum. On top of that, Avenue Road has an exclusive partnership with Britain’s The Rug Company, and also sells pieces from the likes of Kvadrat/Raf Simons, Nymphenburg, and Tribù.
“I keep my team busy,” Weishaupt admits. He’s seated at the kitchenette of Avenue Road’s temporary Vancouver showroom in Gastown, which is a short walk from the heritage building that now holds its permanent location. With headquarters in Toronto and another store in New York, the Vancouver location, which opened in March 2018, marks Avenue Road’s first foray into the North American west. Located on the corner of Pender and Hamilton, the 12,000-square-foot, two-level space is an airy testament to the brand’s purpose of celebrating the creativity and craftsmanship of today’s leading design minds.
Working with Abraham Chan Design Office, Avenue Road was careful to respect the century-old heritage building it moved into in Vancouver; that means some of the original bones were preserved, including beautiful Douglas fir beams and columns. “We’ve been looking for a home here for several years now,” says Weishaupt. The top floor showcases the company’s full portfolio, from sofas and chairs to lighting and ceramics, while the lower level features a shop-in-shop from Vancouver’s own Celsia Floral, as well as a section dedicated to The Rug Company. A simple, elegant staircase connects the two floors, though there are separate street entrances for both as well.
“We try not to have the typical showroom experience; we try to do something that’s more of a big emphasis on something that is very curated, something that is definitely very styled, but has a very homey feel to it, too,” Weishaupt explains. That is evident not only in the layout, but also in the more unique touches, such as the ceramic wall installation by Moss&Lam and the in-store cafe.
It is an exciting addition to Vancouver’s design community, sure to challenge and change the conversation—which is something Weishaupt is always trying to do. “I get my inspiration from different industries rather than home furnishings, because I think that’s been a problem in our industry is that we’ve been too self-centered and focused on our own thing,” he says. “I find our industry is not necessarily the benchmark for what I do. I think depending which aspect you look at, for example maybe customer service or client experience, there are other industries that do a way better job than we do at this point. I challenge myself and my team to make sure that we have a broader view on things.” He’s got his eyes on the world, and it’s sure looking good.