Words by Nhat Vo
In October 2018, recreational cannabis became legalised in Canada—one of the two current countries that also allow commercial production and transactions of marijuana. This regulation not only shifted the freedom of usage but also the approach towards cannabis consumption across the nation, particularly in a big metropolis like Toronto. The increasing demand for dispensaries gave way to new perspectives with experimental concepts such as Edition, “the curator of cannabis”.
Based in Toronto and founded by Ryan Roebuck and Dennis Bennie, Edition aims to focus on the community’s high-experience, complimented with the attention of customers’ new experiences. The pre-fixed image of marijuana distributors is being altered to bring forth a transparent outlook for this stigmatic taboo, presented with a new flagship store designed by StudioAC in the Annex neighbourhood. The minimalist geometric aesthetic is screened by a simple panel of white industrial grating at the entrance, tempting the curiosity of passersby.
Inside, the grey colour of concrete runs throughout this long and narrow lot, converging one’s eye towards one single perspective point. This illusive visual is elongated with the central linear display of products, encased in a glass-box like specimens waiting to be discovered or art installations to be speculated. Each of the product trays rests neatly on top of the podium formed by metal grating surfaces. This gridded pattern gives uniformity to the interior furnishes and a provoking aesthetic. Mirroring the display below, the ceiling also holds the same material application, distributed in a consequential manner with identical dimensions and composition.
Running along the walls of this store are extruded planes with different heights for more surface of the display and seating areas. Potted plants are scattered occasionally like sculptures, adding organic lines to crisp edges of the space design. They are specially selected to create a subtle reference to the main product and to maintain a liveliness to entice humane interactions. Dilute white light beams through tiny squares to deliver a performative atmosphere, where intimate exchanges are formed between people. There are moments of warm yellow light as an elegant nod to marijuana farms. This gesture is sophisticated and playful, communicating clearly Edition’s vision for their dispensary venture.
Although the design for Edition’s flagship store can be seen as uncomplicated, its programmatic function serves as an interesting context for contemporary designs. This project expands on its original intention, going beyond a mere dispensary to take on the role of a lifestyle concept store. As Edition puts it:
We seek to create the best possible experience for our community through our retail stores, e-commerce, branded products, and accessories… Luxury no longer means white-glove service and expensive prices. Luxury means high-quality service, products, and beautiful design.