StudioAC infuses cannabis culture with industrial grate minimalism

Pillar Weed

As the use of marijuana continues to be decriminalized and made legal across North America, a new architectural typology has emerged. Far from the clandestine alleyways in which one had to venture down to acquire the substance a decade ago, dispensaries are quickly becoming refined retail spaces that champion transparency and responsible consumption.

Different lighting configurations reveal the full dynamism of this minimalist yet highly-detailed scheme. In keeping with Canadian regulations, the core of the store is keep hidden from the street. (Double Space Photo)

Helping to reshape this narrative is Canadian startup Edition. Entrepreneur Ryan Roebuck established the high-concept cannabis brand with the aim of creating a neighborhood experience that could at once celebrate the country’s best producers and highlight top-notch accessories. Evident in its first brick-and-mortar dispensary, Edition imbues cannabis culture with luxury and sophistication.

“Cannabis stores should reflect the incredible retail experiences which already exist in our lives and not be subpar or intimidating,” the founder and CEO said. “Edition is breaking the stigma of cannabis retail through design, quality, and impeccable service.”

Details make all the difference in this highly minimal dispensary. (Double Space Photo)

In keeping with Canadian regulations, the core of the store is keep hidden from the street. (Double Space Photo)

Roebuck tapped local firm StudioAC to create a meticulous and all-encompassing design for the brand’s first Annex, Toronto, storefront.

“StudioAC’s principals Jennifer Kudlats and Andrew Hill presented us with the design concept, and they entrusted us to fill in the blanks with them,” Roebuck said. “Every single detail in the space was collaborative and made with intention. We didn’t just pick out some fancy marble and wood on a mood board. We wanted to build a space that would evoke a feeling of intrigue.”

An architectonic vocabulary is evident in the interplay of display cases and platforms and the core podium's industrial grate surfaces. (Double Space Photo)

In choosing a minimal industrial grate scheme, the firm also helped establish Edition’s identity. A central massing serves as the store’s main focal point and display. The monochromatic off-white design allows for the discrete products, often housed in glass cases, to shine as the star of the show but not too brightly. A sleek front of house screen helps to conceal this core element, in keeping with Canadian regulations. Supporting monolithic podiums in the main space help emphasize StudioAC’s almost stage-like intervention. The firm’s design helps legitimize this brand as a normal if not extraordinary main street staple.