The Charm of the Belle Epoque “the pharmacy in the pharmacy” in Brussels

Pharmacie-BotaniqueAt the end of 2013, after 4 years of waiting for permits from the local Superintendence of Fine Arts, the inhabitants of Brussels  will finally discover the new Pharmacie Botanique, a living testimony of the history of the city.

It was 1911 when the pharmacist Oscar Lepage decided to install his pharmacy at the corner of the botanical garden. Inside a building owned by the University Saint-Louis, he placed a neoclassical monumental cabinet, an exceptional set of inlaid woodwork goods classified as goods of historic and artistic interest.

Since its installation, the difficulty of Dr. François has been to make the business profitable in an environment that emphasizes the historical aspect, rather than the commercial one. Indeed, entering the pharmacy the client is amazed by the magnificence of the original furnishings, losing the focus on the products.

Sartoretto Verna took up the challenge of renewing this pharmacy, through an innovative but not invasive project, respectful of the historic grandeur.

The idea that has guided the design is that of a “pharmacy in the pharmacy”: a new area has been created inside the historical place where products and services return to be the real protagonists in an atmosphere that feels like a journey trough time.

The warmth of a dynamic design solution able to communicate accessibility and familiarity, typical of the personalized pharmacy approach to therapy, is opposed to the solemnity and authority conveyed by Socrates and Hippocrates marble busts – the fathers of ancient pharmacopoeia. The preparation of galenic ad hoc solutions and remedies produced on site, including homeopathic products, is supported by the latest technology (a robot masterfully inserted behind the antique furnishings) and an highly functional system of business management.