AN OPEN VIEW
As marijuana mainstreams, in come sophisticated interiors for recreational dispensaries.
May 25, 2017 / Lauren Mang / Photos courtesy of Serra
From the street, Serra’s black-framed Old Town Chinatown storefront could easily pass as the façade of a chic jewelry or home décor shop. But look closer. Those smoke ring shaped pendants (by Vancouver designer Matthew McCormick) and inlaid threshold tiles reading “Quality Drugs” are subtle hints that this shop is something far more rarefied: an unusually sophisticated recreational marijuana dispensary.
The 2,037-square-foot Serra store, the newest of three
Oregon locations owned by husband-and-wife team Spencer Noecker and Cambria Benson Noecker, intentionally breaks with old-school smoke shop aesthetics. Instead, the company drew inspiration from the glass-and-steel structure of a greenhouse (which is what serra means in Italian) in the design of the space, a collaboration among the owners, branding experts at Portland’s Official Manufacturing Company (or OMFGCo.), and Portland-based JHL Design. Elegant glass, steel, and wood vitrines offer shoppers a clear view of edibles
and artful accessories—all displayed on locally made custom ceramic dishes—while also complying with regulations requiring that certain products be enclosed in glass.
“It can sometimes be intimidating to walk into dispensaries with closed, dark windows,” Benson Noecker notes. “You feel like you’re doing something wrong and dirty.” In contrast, the new shop is “all about helping people understand the product they’re getting”—a value she and her team wove throughout the space, from its branding to its interior design. “We made the experience at Serra open. You can bring your mom or your grandma or your best friends here.”
The airy Serra cannabis dispensary in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown neighborhood. “There’s no laminate or vinyl tile in here,” says interior designer Holly Freres of JHL Design. “We used the same materials you’d find in a luxury home to make people comfortable when they walk into the space.” OMFGCo. devised the flower- and stone inspired Archipelago tile pattern—an example of what owner Cambria Benson Noecker calls “little stoner messages hidden throughout the shop.”
A version of this story appeared in Issue no. 34.