Astrid Dispensary by Alte. Studio

Words by Tiffany Jade
Architecture by Alte. Studio
Photography by Sherise Fleming
Joinery by Faze 4 Building Group

As the conduit between scientific production and the safe dispensing of medication and drugs, pharmacies have long retained an integral role in society. Pioneering an ancient yet increasingly relevant space within the industry is Astrid Dispensary by Alte. Studio, which advocates for the relevance of cannabinoid medicine, plant-based therapies and nutraceuticals through an eloquent visual language drawing equally from nature and science.

Astrid Dispensary introduces soft curves, botanical colourways and natural materials into a context that has historically been defined by more clinical design cues. Shifting focus in multiple ways – onto the pharmacists themselves, the wellness space and botanical sciences, and onto the customer experience rather than a simple needs-must process absorbed into the minutiae of life – a novel approach has fulfilled a brief that called for a “non-pharmacy pharmacy, a modern space free from clichés, which visually and sensorially breaks down stigma.”

Alte. Studio has evolved a mainstay of society through an approach that places experience at the forefront.

Located in the leafy and established retail streetscape of South Yarra in inner-suburban Melbourne, Astrid Dispensary balances the desire for a calming, warm and inviting space that retains a paramount level of respectful privacy. Alte. Studio has evolved a mainstay of society through an approach that places experience at the forefront, redefining the traditional pharmacy design that often hides the pharmacist and dispensary at the rear. In contrast, Astrid Dispensary abstracts the traditional space with an open-plan design, integrating a verdant retail space distinguished by naturally expressive materials such as terrazzo, brass and cleanly grained timbers in and around the pharmacist’s workspace to foster connection and a sense of holistic interaction.

There is a poetic pragmatism at play at Astrid Dispensary that intuitively dovetails inclusivity with discretion. An urbane sensibility has been coaxed through a design narrative that resonates with innovation and intuition while preserving a pillar of civilisation.