Alchemy, the Toronto cannabis dispensary founded by cyclist Richard Browne, is rooted in the concept of transformation, and the 1,500-square-foot space, designed by local firm Studio Paolo Ferrari, echoes that ethos.
“There is a level of freedom in designing for a cannabis customer,” says the firm’s founder Paolo Ferrari. “We were able to pursue a less prescriptive retail approach.”
Indeed, the atmosphere is more akin to an exploratory yet soothing gallery. A largely minimalist white palette, for example, is juxtaposed with various colors and textures, like a canary yellow accent wall, digital cannabis artwork by Tristan C-M, and a ceiling adorned with anodized aluminum fins. Unglazed terracotta tiles also cover desks, columns, and walls. The accessories room makes a statement too with an undulating feature wall enveloped in bright orange eco-resin that melds with carpeting in a matching hue.
Alchemy was created to both elevate the cannabis experience for the aficionado, Ferrari explains, and serve “as an exciting entry point for customers rediscovering or new to cannabis.” This led to a multisensory approach, encompassing products that are displayed on shelves integrated into subtly curving sculptural, weightless partitions fashioned out of solid brushed aluminum and powdercoated steel. Snuff jars are also laid out on a table handcarved from solid ash that is embedded with digital screens offering up details about the different strains.
“There is something beautiful about the precision of highly engineered materials in close proximity to materials that are crafted by hand and recall the earth,’ Ferrari points out.
This contrast also reflects the dichotomy inherent to cannabis, a duality that is found throughout the shop. “You have a very humble natural product that has been bioengineered to enhance its attributes. We wanted the design to express this incredible tension,” Ferrari adds, with one overall goal in mind: “We wanted guests to feel euphoric.”
A version of this article was originally published by Hospitality Design.