A 1000 sq. ft. retail design project was undertaken in 2016. Located in the West Queen West shopping district of Toronto, it reimagines what storefront retail can be. The designstripped down the existing retail space and exposed 100 year old masonry walls and plumbing. Scope included renovation of the existing space for use as a co-location of a plant shop and cold-pressed juice store. Design included several millwork fixtures, interior finishes, lighting, new storefront construction and landscaping.
Toronto’s typology of long, narrow, and dark retail spaces is re-imagined as Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole (from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll). The weight of the store is balanced by the Queen Street frontage and laneway frontage at the rear garden. The typical understanding ofthe streetscape and the customer experi-ence was subverted. Toronto is undergoing a shift in attention to its laneway network. This project sharpens the role that the laneway frontage plays. By creating a des-tination at the ‘rear’ of this building, users are drawn through the space in more than one direction.
On a project with two clients, design ad-dressed the needs of both a food based, and plant based business in every design decision. Principal to both was the need to deconstruct the division between customer and staff and to weave the uses of the shop into the community. This was achieved by creating an outdoor public space at both the front and rear of the building. In every element, natural, unfinished, and locally sourced materials reflected the sustainabil-ity tenets of both clients’ ethos.
1. MCM 2001 Inc. – Millwork – Custom shelving