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Bradshaws Blog

Meet UMBRA - Canada's Favourite Design Company!

Get to Know UMBRA

I am often a bit surprised when I mention the word UMBRA to friends or family. There are many times when I notice that people are unfamiliar with this name. It seems unusual to me because this Canadian company is recognized worldwide for transforming everyday products into award-winning objects of desire. Chances are you might even have UMBRA curtain rods, garbage cans or picture frames in your home right now and don’t even know it!

Take, for example, UMBRA’s OH Chair, designed in 1998 in partnership with acclaimed industrial designer Karim Rashid. The OH Chair was designed to replace the generic white plastic garden chair that was uncomfortable and brittle. Rashid reimagined a chair that was visually pleasing, comfortable, flexible, practical and one that could withstand the elements. Watch this interesting video on how the OH Chair is made on HGTV’s Design DNA. The OH chair is still in production and has recently been released in an assortment of new fashion colours with powder-coated legs.

Come to our Meet the UMBRA Co-Founder Event on Saturday April 25th, 12pm-2pm at Bradshaws (129 Ontario Street, Stratford) and meet UMBRA's Co-Founder Paul Rowan. The first 100 attendees will receive a FREE UMBRA gift and can enter to WIN one of 4 OH Chairs that we’ll be giving away!

UMBRA's Oh Chair designed by Karim Rashid

Karim Rashid also designed UMBRA’s best selling GARBINO trash can, and now holds a spot in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

UMBRA Garbino trash can, designed by Karim Rashid

The UMBRA Story.

UMBRA is a Toronto-based homeware design company born over 30 years ago when graphic designer Paul Rowan couldn’t find a nice window shade to hang in his apartment window. He decided to design one himself and people liked it. He then teamed up with childhood friend, Les Mandelbaum, and Umbra (“shade” in Latin) was born. Les and Paul began re-imagining everyday items into modern ware.

Les Mandelbaum and Paul Rowan - UMBRA Co-Founders

Today, Umbra is recognized all over the world for bringing intelligent design to everyday items. An in-house team of international designers allows UMBRA to come up with original designs that speaks universally and personally to a broad customer base. UMBRA’s designs can now be found in over 120 countries.

UMBRA's Design Team based in Toronto

Bradshaws is pleased to be an UMBRA Retail Partner which means that we have an incredible assortment of UMBRA products for the home, kitchen and bath. Bradshaws is proud to have received UMBRA’s Canadian Retail Partner of the Year Award in 2008. We were enjoyed being invited to Toronto to meet with UMBRA’s owners and very talented design team and get a glimpse into the design process in UMBRA’s forward thinking design department.

New designs from UMBRA - 2015

We are very passionate about working with companies that are leaders in design and innovation, and who work hard to develop a brand that is recognized globally as one with integrity and who strives to produce quality items that are not only stylish, but are also affordable and practical. These attributes are key to UMBRA’s design philosophy.

When in Toronto, make sure to pop by UMBRA’s flagship store. It really encompasses all that UMBRA are passionate about!

UMBRA's flagship store at Queen St. and John St. in Toronto

About Paul Rowan...

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Paul developed his understanding of technology and design while mixing paint and fixing windows in his father’s hardware store. It was here that the seeds were sown for his future calling. He graduated from George Brown College in 1974 with a diploma in Graphic Design and upon graduating moved to Ottawa to work in the world’s first digital typography company. While settling into his new digs he was frustrated while trying to find a window shade, and the rest is history.

UMBRA Co-Founder Paul Rowan

Follow UMBRA’s blog to get a behind the scenes glimpse into designing UMBRA products!

Shop UMBRA now on our site!

Click here to shop Umbra's Collection at Bradshaws!