Connect with us

Hitting the Books

Books take center stage at the latest iteration of Canada’s largest bookseller




NEARLY 25 YEARS SINCE opening its first store in Burlington, Ont., Indigo Books & Music (Toronto) debuted its newest concept late last year. At 16,000 square feet, it’s not Indigo’s largest location, though it is an anchor tenant for a new, seven-story retail, residential and office development at The Well in downtown Toronto.

With more than 200 locations nationwide (about 10 in Toronto), Indigo had expanded its sidelines to include skin care, fashion accessories and bedding. A recent cyberattack, which led to declining sales, prompted the retailer to rebalance its product mix to showcase “the best of Indigo” – books, music, fashion and culture.

Hitting the Books this page: The latest Indigo store is housed at the Well shopping center, designed by Toronto-based architecture and design firm BDP Quadrangle.

“We wanted the store to feel like a bookstore first, that was our number one priority,” says Cameron Teedon, VP, Visual Merchandising and Store Design at Indigo. “We also wanted to come up with a new look and feel that was warmer, from the wood to the lighting, and offered a sense of community.”

Passersby can’t miss the bookstore vibe through the glass façade – some 40,000 books were curated for the location – allowing natural light to flood in. Full-height, fixed library shelving houses the vast number of books available, while all floorstanding walls are flexible and can be locked and unlocked for easy repositioning. Such flexibility allows the store to reconfigure for events ranging from hosting authors to poetry readings or craft classes. From the street vantage, patrons can also take in the welcoming seating options arranged around Propeller Coffee’s coffee truck, offering pastries, snacks, beer, wine and coffee.

Hitting the Books

📷 Nick Caville, BDP Quadrangle


Lifestyle departments spread around the perimeter – notably a stationery shop and music corner complete with juke-box – convey a “pop-up shop” treatment created by open structures customers can walk through or dwell within. Toward its rear is Indigo’s kids and baby merchandise, designed as an inspiring section for curious young customers. The section features books, along with creativity and play areas.

Indigo tapped Dalziel & Pow (London) for design help as it opened a new chapter, which took 18 months from concept through construction. The overall design aims to create areas “to kindle family connections, allowing all generations to engage in the space,” says Oliver Ellis, Associate Creative Director, Branding and Communication, Dalziel & Pow.

The new design also speaks volumes about Indigo’s homegrown retail status. “It is always exciting and daunting to work with a business that is more than just a brand, Indigo is part of Canadian culture that many people hold in high affection,” says Ellis.

📷 Nick Caville, BDP Quadrangle




MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

Promoted Headlines





Most Popular