Sweet Seven
Deena Kamel

Sweet Seven

dkstudio architects inc. as Architects

Characterized by a sleek, youthful, and urban design, Sweet Seven Cannabis is a boutique located in Waterloo, Canada. Sweet Seven was created by two independent entrepreneurs who at the time had no previous cannabis nor retail experience. They opened Sweet Seven after winning a licensing lottery to open a store in the city famous for its top-tier universities and being at the centre of Silicon Valley North.

The client approached dkstudio with the design challenge to create an original concept store that was to be fully designed and executed within a few weeks. It needed to be able to attract both seasoned users in Waterloo’s student demographic, and the seasoned veteran. To achieve this, dkstudio focused on creating a layout plan and concept that would be able to showcase products clearly, and that would be highly adaptable to future roll outs.

The result is a modern cannabis boutique whose physical features echo the goal for a relaxing ambiance, and a brand design that alludes to the septenary cannabis leaf. The Sweet Seven logo designed by dkstudio consists of a sunny, seven-pointed abstract umbrella. The design is organized around seven exploratory wooden slat “pods'' that feature the seven distinct sensations Sweet Seven’s products offer. The vertical slats of wood that make up each of the pods allow for rays of sunlight to filter elegantly through the store’s generous East facing windows—gently reminiscent of the way the sun filters through a field of cannabis leaves. Like the logo, the storespace itself evokes a distinct sense of sunniness—and the result is a light, relaxing space that is at once open and intimate.

Sweet Seven’s pilot store is a contemporary corner storefront that marries tastefully into a vintage Waterloo brick building. Its high contrast signage is striking, clean, and eye-catching, written in the brand’s signature colours of yellow and black. This deceptively simple design accomplishes two objectives: it obscures visibility from the outside (in accordance with strict regulations for cannabis retail operations) whilst also maintaining an ability to attract the eye of potential customers. Its translucent, frosted-glass storefront and large, bright yellow interior logo wall is able to conceal its interior without preventing natural light from entering the store and filtering through the signature slatted wood pods. The open layout, curved shapes and brightly coloured signage succeed to easily navigate through the products by both seasoned consumers as well as first-time shoppers.

Groupings of product offerings are identified by vibrant coloured signage in each individual sensation pod. Gently curved fabric canopies and directional lighting combined with circular floor demarcations create a cocoon-like sense of intimacy within each pod and encourage close-up engagement with the products they offer.

The modular shelving at each pod allows for flexibility of display. All products displayed in the store are secured from customer handling without assistance, as per government regulations. The products, in their original packaging, are placed on shelves locked in clear encasements. The wall displays featuring edibles and specialty items are locked in glass niches. The glass designs allow a high level of control over products while also maximizing customer interaction. Premium products are featured on a separate semi-circular wall, echoing the introverted mood of the curved pods. Freestanding sensory tables encourage customers to use their olfactory senses to explore different cannabis strains. The team also made effective use of their small budget for digital devices with the use of wall displays and handheld iPads, which function as additional selling tools for customers to explore their full product offerings.

The centrally located cash desk with a dedicated express line allows for ease of customer service and check out. Its thin edge countertop is made of Corian for durability. Clad in a fluted natural oak panel, it compliments the natural oak wood pod partitions as well as the laminated flooring engineered with recycled content to withstand high traffic. The pod configuration is a unique feature of the store planning that has modular configurability, allowing for the flexible adaptation of the store concept for subsequent roll outs of the brand. The subdued warm tones of the interior balanced with the vivid yellow and pitch black signature colours further anchor and distinguish the brand. The result is a unique store concept that is inviting, calming, highly functional, and altogether memorable as a whole.

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