Eschewing the staid clichés that cannabis is associated with, the flagship store of Canadian cannabis retailer Alchemy in Toronto is an immersive apothecary-like space that takes customers on a multi-sensory journey through artistry, nature and technology.
Toronto-based Studio Paolo Ferrari have fused an organic design language of natural materials and sinuous forms with a futuristic aesthetic of high-tech ingenuity as a reflection of cannabis’ journey from naturally grown produce to high-end product. The result is a sublime sequence of serene yet energetic spaces that imbue the customer experience with both cerebral and visceral qualities.
Alchemy’s mission is to re-define how cannabis is perceived and used – Canada legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2018 – but the brand also wants to define the future of in-store retail as an immersive, engaging and compelling experience that’s worth abandoning the convenience of online shopping for.
In response to this brief, designer and Studio founder Paolo Ferrari has focused on the human experience, drawing from the brand’s “alchemical” transformation of naturally grown cannabis into highly prized products. “For us, the store is somewhere between a laboratory and temple,” Ferrari says. “It is a serene environment with energetic bursts. It is also about escapism, and experiencing something on a different plane.”