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Designer Drugs

Edition Cannabis, a contemporary boutique dispensary in Toronto, brings a whole new meaning to high design.

By Rachel Gallaher

Edition, the modern new cannabis retail experience in downtown Toronto, was designed by architecture firm StudioAC. Image courtesy of Edition.

Talk about cannabis shops and two images usually pop to mind: either a dark, back-alley-type operation or a brightly lit, carnivalesque space with neon signs and lots of color. But over the past five years, with the increasing legalization of cannabis across the United States and Canada, a new niche market has emerged: chic retail operations built with design at top of mind. Edition, recently opened in downtown Toronto, is one such space that sells curated cannabis offerings, luxury smoking accessories, specially mixed playlists, and exclusive signature iems, all in a minimal space that feels akin to an art gallery.

Designed by local architecture firm, StudioAC, Edition was the aesthetic brainchild of the firm and the shop’s owner, Ryan Roebuck—a longstanding relationship between the two resulted in a lot of trust between the two parties.

Even from the outside, the space has the sleek, minimal look of an art gallery. Image courtesy of Edition.

“The objective was to build the most beautiful retail spaces that would serve as showpieces for the brand but also have the functionality of a cannabis retail store,” write StudioAC founders Jennifer Kudlats & Andrew Hill in an email. “We were given the creative freedom to come up with the high-level concept for the retail spaces and it was a total collaboration between Edition and StudioAC to fill in the blanks and all the details.”

The shop is very long and narrow (essentially a giant skinny rectangle), and the architects had to adapt their initial design concept to fit the space. The brand’s first location has a large skylight that floods the shop with lots of natural light, so, according to Kudlats and Hill, “it was important to let that flow through and really create a bright and welcoming environment [here as well].”

White walls and flooring coupled with textured elements and plants combine to make Edition both highbrow and inviting. Image courtesy of Edition.

A minimal and consistent look was achieved by sticking with three different materials (fiber-reinforced panels, lime paint to give the walls subtle texture, and micro-cement for the floor) all painted the same soft shade of white. Sleek glass display cases help reduce any visual clutter while keeping the merchandise front and center, and potted plants add thematic color and a sense of inviting calm. White-painted latticework panels prevent the space from feeling too cold or industrial.

“We were trying to create the most beautiful, inviting, intriguing but purposeful environments,” Kudlats and Hill explain. “Retail showpieces that would pique the curiosity and interest of those passing by. We are creating cannabis retail environments that reflect those that already exist in our day-to-day lives. Cannabis retailers that have worked with designers or have tried to make a store upscale with fancy marble, wood, and kitsch are not a true reflection of HIGH design and we wanted this to be at the core of the brand’s DNA.”


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