House of Smart drug store – Netherlands
The House of Smart is a retail outfit specialising in drugs and related paraphernalia. Drugs including cannabis in all forms and hallucinogenic magic mushrooms are legal for “personal use” in the Netherlands.
“A smart shop is a shop like any other retail establishment selling stimulants,” said House of Smart’s owner. “No secrecy is necessary; rather, we should be more open about it.” Inside the store, an irregular grid of slender grey wooden beams – apparently inspired by “the interconnectedness of the neural pathways of the brain” – covers the ceiling and walls. “It seemed interesting to me to represent the brain with its branching nervous system in an abstract manner in this particular location,” said agency founder Maurice Mentions.
“It is like a labyrinth or a maze. But you can also interpret the branching as the wiring of complicated printing plates or computer chips, symbolic of rational thought and artificial intelligence,” the designer added.
Linear LED light bulbs hang from the ceiling, echoing sections of the wooden grid, and the beams on the wall double up as shelving for products. Samples can also be hung “like fruit” from the overhead beams. The agency stripped the shop back to its bare walls during renovation – purposefully leaving any traces of building work on display. Glimpses of the structure’s original brickwork can be seen behind the crisscrossed wall beams.
Two grey counters in the shop are placed separately, but at right angles to one another, and contain illuminated glass display cases. Large windows have been installed at the front of the shop to entice passersby. As part of Dutch Design Week 2015, which takes place from 17 to 25 October, the space will host an exhibition of large glass-blown mushrooms that double as floor lamps, by designer Arnout Visser. Complex wooden structures also featured in Tandem Design Studio’s interior for a Melbourne health and footwear store, and in Dutch studio Doepel Strijkers’ design for Amsterdam boutique Stills, which wrapped clothes in an elaborate lattice of white-painted wood.
Photography is by Arjen Schmitz
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