May 16th 2013 – Parisian retailer Annie Aime has moved west, setting up shop on the bustling streets of Toronto. Local designer John Tong, principal of Toronto-based creative firm +tongtong, spearheaded the design of the shop, creating an eye-twisting space that is bold, flexible, and an open-concept environment that can easily be transformed into a space for scheduled art openings and other Annie Aime events.
Tong outfitted the 800 sq. ft. space with stark white walls and oak wood flooring, which became the canvas for graffiti artist Pascal Paquette to create an “organic, almost spontaneous” graffiti mural. “It’s quite active. It’s dynamic. It’s textural,” says Tong.
The geometric display units, constructed of welded steel, are weighted so that they securely lean against the wall and can be easily moved throughout the shop with no fasteners required. “They’re layered into a space that is very animated,” says principal John Tong. “Bold colors and architectural expression were needed to really capture Annie’s personality. I got this from the very first time we met when she described her passion for what she does and the fashion she searches out for her clients.”
Tong also developed a low-lying stepped brick display unit down the center of the shop, as well as a floor-to-ceiling brick and wood shelving unit at the rear. “It gives the space a grounding with out being precious,” says Tong. “It brings a tactility and materiality to the space, which is otherwise made up of drywall, paint and steel.”
Tong visualizes the juxtaposition of the geometric racks layered over the fluid, almost malleable, graffiti as a built environment which also reflects the vibrant spirit of the labels she carries. The artistic design of the shop parallels the feminine, floral pieces as well as bold, architectural offerings from collections of Veeshoo, frrry, Outclass, Helene Clément, Prêt pour partir, Saint-James and Saisei. “Creating a space where Annie felt she could express herself, play and offer the treasures from her explorations and journeys to her guests has been a joy.”