Tokyo Smoke is a modern lifestyle collective that reaches consumers through verticals they cherish, those being coffee, clothing, and Cannabis. The Cannabis space has consistently lacked a home for the modern consumer; those who don’t define themselves as users of Cannabis but rather, unique, motivated and creative individuals who also happen to enjoy Cannabis. As such, Tokyo Smoke had a large vision when designing their first flagship location; create a physical environment that embodies their approach of bringing beauty, form, and function to an industry where it was traditionally lacking.
Tokyo Smoke Found, the first Tokyo Smoke location, fills that void, providing a home for both the local community and the creative class in the Cannabis space. The shop itself serves as a metaphor for the emerging Cannabis industry, taking an under-served location, in this case, the shipping dock of an old factory, and converting it into something both beautiful and functional. Upon entering, it’s immediately evident that Tokyo Smoke does not subscribe to any preconceived notions around traditional Cannabis brands and retailers. As a true testament to the retail location’s universal appeal, you are equally as likely to find a Cannabis aficionado perusing the merchandise as you are a family, local resident or business person grabbing a delicious coffee. By stripping away stereotypical ‘Cannabis’ themes and focusing on impeccable urban, refined design, Tokyo Smoke has started to remove the stigmas generally attached to Cannabis and it’s accompanying iterations.
Launched in May 2015, the 330 square-foot shop speaks to the brand’s sense of delight. The facade of the shop sets the tone, responding creatively to the functional constraints of the leftover site between two converted warehouses. A bisected shipping container pierces the interior-exterior boundary, poking out from under a corrugated garage door —a holdover from space’s previous life as a storage garage and shipping dock — with a black-and-white mural by Brazilian street artist Alex Senna. The container houses the walk-up espresso bar within 80 square feet, with both street-side and interior counters, creating the sense that this is both a sidewalk pop-up and a proper cafe.
The outside-inside landscaping reinforces the urban vibe. Corten steel planters demarcate the patio, surrounding vintage Eames chairs and white side tables. Yellow, diagonal lines on the pavement — a reference to a car-free zone — point visitors inside and around the store. Inside, the design team used ready-made and new objects to riff on the site’s history. Pontoon floats, found in the garage suspend from the bare brick walls; a new wall mural reading “McRae Photofinishing Est. 1969” pays homage to the building’s former business. Propane tanks-turned-pendants, by Toronto collective Fugitive Glue, hang above the communal table.
Custom retail displays are designed for flexibility. The shipping container door has built-in compartments for coffee or other accessories. Leather strapping displays magazines and shirts. Throughout the shop, a highly curated assemblage of museum-quality curiosities, accessories and stylish clothing reflects the design passion, creativity and unusual approach of this emerging, urban-lifestyle brand.