The Undulating Design of the New Royal de Versailles Boutique in Toronto

The jewellers tapped local architecture firm Partisans to create an eye-catching design for their new location in Toronto.

Forming a dialogue between the old and the new Yorkville, a sleek black high-rise on Bloor emerges from a wraparound base of etched limestone, revealing the newest location for Royal de Versailles Jewellers. A golden clock is fixed to the corner, its face glowing at night. Oblong windows on the street-level façade form pockets that display heirloom timepieces, each one illuminated by cove lights embedded in the limestone face. It is a geological storefront worthy of natural-wonder status, but, of course, none of this beauty is a product of erosion or happenstance. Created by Partisans—a Toronto architecture firm known for its innovative techniques—the limestone cladding has been etched with an algorithmic parametric composition using CNC (computer numerical control) technology. Every detail, down to the integration of the stonework with the building’s existing mullions, has been mathematically determined, echoing the precise construction and forms of a Swiss-make watch.




Computational designer Arturo Tedeschi, who is responsible for the mesmeric curves grooved into the limestone, understands that the brand prides itself on its use of fine raw materials. “The integration of algorithms with advanced fabrication techniques has enabled the scaling of intricate detailing, characteristic of watchmaking and craftsmanship, to architectural dimensions,” he says, noting the flow and folds of the surface. “[It configures] a sort of art deco-inspired motif linked to the historical visual merchandising of the brand and its timeless elegance.”




“A watch is an inherently layered object, where the most sophisticated features belong to a microscopic scale yet are indirectly perceivable,” Tedeschi says. “The same philosophy has been applied to the concept and execution of the east façade through the subtle vibration that light creates as it grazes the micro texture crafted on the stone panels.”

The Bay-Bloor boutique at Royal de Versailles Jewellers dazzles in the evening or daylight hours, possessing an allure similar to that of an uncut gem: finely textured rock on the exterior, glimmering treasures inside. It has naturally attracted an exclusive clientele and award nominations alike. Most recently, Partisans earned a nod from Architizer for its future-forward stonework. Additionally, the firm was recognized for Canvas House, also in Toronto, and the Windsor Peace Fountain. These ambitious projects have garnered founder Alexander Josephson a reputation as a leader in cutting-edge architecture in Ontario and beyond.

Photography by Doublespace.