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  • Ntouma Maria


Encouraging customers to bake at home as much as enjoying goods in-store, Flourist in East Vancouver is not just a bakery, but also a community-based artisan flour mill. Ste. Marie designed the 260sqm space to give pride of place to one of two flour mills, set behind picture windows for customers to watch grain farmed from family-run Canadian farms ground into flour that is immediately used on-site. “We wanted the space to feel like standing in a wheat field on a perfect sunny day—a nice counterpoint to some of those grey Vancouver days,” says Craig Stanghetta, principle and creative director of Ste. Marie. The designers incorporated farmhouse sensibility with Scandinavian design principles, the outcome being a space that straddles timelessness with current elements that are fresh and fun. The guiding principles of the 18th-Century North American Shaker communities, an isolated and egalitarian sect, guided decisions: simplicity, utility and honesty. Largely self-sufficient, the Shakers grew their own food, constructed their own buildings, and manufactured their own tools and furnishings in pursuit of creating their own ‘heaven-on-earth’. The material palette contributes to an overarching malty, pale golden tone throughout the interior, referencing the colour of natural wheat grain. Blonde timber tables, shelves and chairs are complemented by cream paint, polished floors, and marble. A large marble table with a small sink is intended for community baking workshops. Dowelled shelves at the front of the retail space extend to the front window, beckoning passersby to come inside.

“The emotional seed of this place is bread and sunshine, but we also wanted to somehow reflect the two folks who started Flourist: fun and bright, but also clever, focused, thoughtful and delightful in all kinds of unexpected ways,” says Stanghetta.

Flourist pride themselves on being the first ‘fully traceable’ grain, beans and flour company, disrupting the traditional supply chain as an alternative to overly processed supermarket options. Besides sourdough toasts and baked goods, customers can purchase freshly milled flour to take home. A retail section displays a selection of cooking and baking tools and books. Speaking to the driving inspiration behind Flourist, co-founder Shira McDermott says, “The food movement has made so many strides in recent years with the popularity of farmer’s markets, which really gave us the ability to reconnect with so many of our food producers. But until now, flour remained a stodgy, processed product that we never had any insight into.”

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