Smokin’ Interiors — Lee And Coburn Spark Up Dispensary Design

Noted set designer, and longtime Providence resident, Eugene Lee (Saturday Night Live, Tonight Show, Sweeney Todd, Wicked) has teamed up with acclaimed restaurant designer Kyla Coburn (Loie Fuller, Troop, The Grange, The Avery) to design interiors for cannabis dispensaries.

They are working in conjunction with Smokin’ Interiors in Warwick. Managing partner Rick Granoff has been a friend of Lee for several years, but this collaboration stems from a chance meeting in February at a benefit here in town. From the ProJo:

They bumped into each other at the lobby bar.

“I asked him how his work was going on “Saturday Night Live” and then the light bulb goes off,” says Granoff. “I said ‘Eugene, want to design cannabis dispensaries?’ He looked at me and said: “absolutely.′ ”

Lee says designing marijuana shops isn’t much different from designing theater stages: “It’s a good job for a set designer because we look at the world a little different.”

Coburn had this to say about her approach to these projects:

Coburn says her collaboration with Lee is all about matching the dispensaries with their host communities, knowing that some towns remain leery about marijuana, and making people feel comfortable about visiting a store.

“The dispensary experience now is very cold,” she says. “You walk in, there is a ton of security, it’s very intimidating, there’s fluorescent lights and no theme to it. And you’re alienating probably 60 percent of the clientele.”

Well . . . I’m not sure anyone has ever walked out of a dispensary because of bad lighting, but I totally support an end to fluorescents. The only dispensary I have ever been inside is the Thomas Slater Compassion Center and actually that interior is quite pleasant and sophisticated.

This image comes from the Smokin’ Interiors website and frankly may not be the work product of this duo. (Finding a picture to use for this post was not easy: I was looking for a shot of the nautical-themed facility in Provincetown.) I do kind of like this one for its ’60s color palette, but it does not resemble the Coburn interiors I have enjoyed around town. And check out Coburn’s work on the dressing rooms at the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon!

And by the way, that sound you hear? That’s the cha-ching of all the Massachusetts cash registers hoovering up the marijuana money. Some of that money, and many of those ancillary jobs, could have been ours had not House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello continually refused to let your duly elected representatives even vote on the Tax and Regulate legislation that has been introduced year after year. He’s more a cigars-and-casinos kind of a guy. So how’s that working out? See: “Lawmakers worry as Twin River’s slump accelerates.”


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