Compiled by Pari Syal
Photography: Adrien Williams; courtesy the architect
Designed by Jean de Lessard creative designers, the Uniprix pharmacy on the outskirts of Montreal, challenges accepted notions of generic pharmacy typology…
Designer Jean de Lessard is known for his radical experimentations! While conceptualizing this pharmacy, he was positive that he wanted the space to reflect the human side of the profession – “empathetic, simple and collective, unpretentious, allowing the pharmacists to be more accessible and be seen by their patients”.
To heighten the social dimension of the act, the designer chose to make of the laboratory the focal point, and consequently, a place for socializing amongst neighbours. The design is modulated by some feng shui principles, such as organizing the space to promote a smooth circulation of the energy flow (Ch’i) and de-cluttering among others. It thus consists of a grouping of circles around which one can walk, including a magisterial medicine side room and the pharmacist’s favourite, an ergonomic pillbox, which she finds has a retro look. There is also a storage room and a circular glass air-lock looking office with a sliding door, for private consultations.
For Ch’i activation, light is key and the laboratory is positioned in the north, where soft natural light filters in from large windows. The colour blue pervades this area reflecting soft light on the polished steel of the pillbox – being associated in feng shui with water and metal elements. Similarly, furniture is also placed with taller units towards the periphery and shorter units towards the centre.
A sense of movement and the rounded walls energize the place in a non-aggressive manner. The round scheme is used for furniture, just as it was used in the pharmacy. The wooden slats ceiling of the waiting room in the south part is another auspicious architectural detail. Wood brings structure, warmth and brightness without oppressing the Ch’i. In feng shui, the south part benefits from the strong presence of the wood element and is, by extension, beneficial to all of those present in the space.
Simplifying spatial layout and dissociating the mercantile aspect of the professional act of the pharmacist, “onus is on listening, professionalism and human warmth instead of product”, concludes Jean de Lessard. Conveying fluidity and openness to preserve the natural brightness, the immaculate walls are, moreover, devoid of any advertising materials, leaving the space to harmony, and contribute holistically to an improved wholesome customer experience.