Cumbrae’s Queen Street

Cumbrae’s Queen

Chopped, Smoked, Carved, Split, and Stitched

Cumbrae’s Queen adds to the Cumbrae’s fam­i­ly of retail butch­er shops in Toron­to. Its design is meant to express the unique and deep-root­ed cul­ture of this farm-to-table enter­prise while cre­at­ing an intox­i­cat­ing expe­ri­ence begin­ning at the side­walk.

We bor­row from the craft of butch­ery in order to achieve mate­r­i­al rich­ness and curat­ed dis­play.

The long nar­row space at street lev­el is lined with cus­tomized, refrig­er­at­ed dis­play units and walk-in cool­ers detailed like gallery vit­rines with glare/ mois­ture resis­tant glass. The design objec­tive was to cre­ate a dra­mat­ic exhi­bi­tion of the exquis­ite prod­uct, with­out pre­ten­tion, all while allow­ing the aro­ma and tex­ture of Cumbrae’s sig­na­ture offer­ings to envel­op the space.

The sec­ond floor is equipped with a full prep kitchen with a cen­tral assem­bly area ter­mi­nat­ed by a large, tint­ed win­dow framed in the shape of a cow much like an over­sized brand­ing iron. The abstract­ed, icon­ic cow defines the upper front façade artic­u­lat­ed by alu­minum baguettes that screen the util­i­tar­i­an kitchen space from the street. At grade, a dou­ble-glazed, large glass store­front draws in pedes­tri­ans right back to the steamy sand­wich­es “altar” clad in mar­ble.

Detail - Cumbrae’s Queen Street
Cured, stretched, and stitched pig skin at the pro­sciut­to bar.

The design strat­e­gy ulti­mate­ly bor­rows from the craft of butch­ery in order to achieve an envi­ron­ment of pow­er­ful dis­play and sea­soned, curat­ed rich­ness. Each build­ing mate­r­i­al is affect­ed by select ‘oper­a­tions’ com­mon­ly used in the treat­ment of meat. Mate­ri­als such as wood, stone, leather, gyp­sum, and met­al are chopped, smoked, sliced, carved, split, charred, and stitched. Famil­iar mate­ri­als are ren­dered sup­ple and fleshy along­side their edi­ble coun­ter­parts accen­tu­at­ed with the­atre-like dra­mat­ic light­ing.

Final­ly, the Cumbrae’s sto­ry, that begins at the farm back three gen­er­a­tions, is tran­scribed on the sur­faces that line the shop­ping prom­e­nade. Begin­ning at the entry where stri­a­tions of the veins of meat are CNC burned into the smoked oak pan­elling that sits across from the stretched and stitched pig-skin pro­sciut­to counter. At each POS sta­tion the names of the orig­i­nal farms that defined each of the three Cumbrae’s gen­er­a­tions (Con­ces­sion 6; Hamil­ton Place; and, Fitzroy) are high­light­ed. This dis­tin­guish­ing phi­los­o­phy that the farm source is pri­ma­ry, is fur­ther empha­sized by a script of the names of all local Ontario towns that fur­nish Cumbrae’s along a sin­u­ous over­head frieze of deep, pinned let­ters.

Cum­brae’s Queen was the recip­i­ent of the 19th annu­al Best of Cana­da Award from Cana­di­an Inte­ri­ors for the Retail cat­e­go­ry.

Project Facts

  • Client


  • Location


  • Size

    3,000 sq.ft.

  • Status


  • Sub-Consultant Team

    Struc­tur­al — ST Engi­neer­ing

    Mechan­i­cal — S. Charitonos

    Graph­ic Design — Blok

  • Photography

    Rena­to Ceriso­la