When FARM, Canada’s largest medical marijuana dispensary, wanted to design a flagship store on Douglas Street, they turned to Iván Meade at Meade Design Group, who had worked with FARM on previous locations. In an effort to challenge the stereotypes of the archetypal cannabis shop, Meade worked closely with the owners to design a shop that would fit with the high-end bistros in the area and create a unique customer experience. State-of-the-art light fixtures, terrazzo-inspired flooring, and brass accents come together to create a space that is both inviting and discrete while honouring the building’s historical relevance.
Built in 1900, for Robert Porter, mayor of Victoria from 1919-1921, the historical Porter Block Corner building was originally a butcher shop, R. Porter & Sons. Now FARM’s flagship store, Meade states that “this corner, where Johnson Street and Douglas meet, is one of the prime corners of the city. We were inspired by the historical character of the building and wanted to bring together a juxtaposition of styles that embrace the turn-of-the-century glamour with classic elements that respect the building’s history while incorporating contemporary elements to elevate the experience to the 21 century.”
“Farm was investing a lot of money into the design so the first thing we wanted to consider was how to make the experience unique for customers so they would return and ultimately, create a more successful business,” says Meade. The first thing they reviewed was the existing state of the original architecture to determine if the location could fulfill all the needs of the business. “We designed the layout and millwork, chose materials and fixtures, and curated the rear wall mural, and mock stained-glass. Working with FARM is very collaborative and creative; no one is opposed to thinking outside of the box.”
With a nod to the building’s historical relevance, Meade had a customized brass door handle designed to set a welcoming and sophisticated tone for FARM. Historical imagery from old apothecary shops and panoramic, agricultural vistas, were created in large format as wall coverings.
One of the advantages of working with Meade Design Group is that they are a multidisciplinary design studio so they have a clear understanding of how to incorporate graphic needs with interior design to represent companies in a seamless way.
Meade and his team gave the brand presence with historically significant monograms inset in the custom terrazzo floor, subway tile, and by incorporating brass accents, and custom historical murals. Meade and the FARM owners wanted to include as many island-sourced elements as possible, including the terrazzo-inspired flooring by Stone Design and stained-glass windows from SGO Victoria.
The acoustics were a primary consideration considering the ceiling height and heavy duty flooring that can create an echo. “To resolve this sound issue, we designed a massive bulkhead over the client areas that lowers the voice spectrum. Our design was based on the same principle of old banks and pharmacies with their high ceilings and marble floors. The trick here is to direct the voice of the consumer against the wall, rather than into a large open space,” states Meade.
The inclusion of technology was one of the most important elements of the design for Meade, who explains that the cashiers can show products on interactive screens and customers can scroll through information in a manner that is attractive and efficient. Meade concludes that “while we incorporated elements that embrace the building’s historical relevance, we have to keep moving forward into the future and include technology in our design elements to keep current and help businesses thrive.”