Daawai: The new face of modern pharmacies

March 28, 2023

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Breaking away from traditional designs, Daawai features a soothing and cosy environment. The interior is designed to explore inner wellness.

It’s hard to imagine hospitals and pharmacies as happy places. But the negative feelings people often associate with them are nowadays being addressed with modern interior designs, which favours light and bright colour schemes. This not only highlights the architectural and artistic designs of the space, but it also aids to stimulate a patient’s recovery.

This change, over the years, has been observed in hospitals throughout the city. But the same cannot be said for drugstores.

Every time one pictures a local pharmacy in the country, we naturally think of tons of medicines piled up on transparent shelves, and the space lit by very underwhelming general lighting.

Breaking away from this pattern, Daawai, a chain pharmacy, features a soothing and cosy environment. The interior is designed to explore inner wellness. Daawai opened its first outlet in December, 2022. It sells both medicine and FMCG (Fast-moving consumer goods) products. The design was conceptualised by Prachya architectural and interior consultancy firm.

Located in the capital’s Lalmatia, Daawai has a floor space of around 390 square feet. The design uses a colour pallet of soft shades of green, blue and white. The colours are broken up by glossy champagne-coloured metal lines.

“Understanding colour psychology is very important when designing a shop, which is why we went with a pastel palette and shades of green. It radiates positive and tranquil energies,” said Sahar Malik, the lead architect of Prachyo.

Color psychology is very important when designing a shop, which is why a pastel palette and shades of green has been used by the architects. It radiates positive and tranquil energy. Photo: Junaid Hasan Pranto

The pharmacy is divided into two sections – a space for FMCG, and a medicine section. Upon entering the premises, you are met with a waiting zone, facing the Lalmatia park, which features a low seating arrangement. Instead of external chairs, the architect used fixed seating.

On the left of the waiting area is a wall beautifully decorated with indoor plants and hanging filament bulbs. The FMCG section is located right in front of the entrance, and includes products such as packaged food, toiletries, and personal care products.

“We did not want to keep any medicine near the entrance. The FMCG section provides a feel-good factor for the customers,” said Sahar.

The medicine section is near the reception area. Unlike the FMCG section, these products are not kept within the customers’ reach.

Every time one pictures a local pharmacy in the country, you think of medicines piled up on transparent shelves, in an open shop. There’s where Daawai took a different route. Photo: Junaid Hasan Pranto

“Ensuring functionality with modern aesthetics was a big priority for this design. There is no additional storage room in the pharmacy, so we made the shelves lofty enough to accommodate everything, and dispersed enough so that they do not block the park view,” said Sahar.

Sahar also tried to keep horizontal shelves simple, and mostly played around with the decorative lighting and the vertical shelves to create geometric patterns.

The reception table is constructed in a similar fashion to the seats, it is fixed to the floor. There is also a white panel at the corner of the reception – it is clearly visible from the entrance, and includes the name ‘Daawai’, glowing with illuminated letters. The back is used to house a refrigerator and a space for storage. The medicine is stacked behind the reception desk.

One of the challenges of designing the store was the floor. The space included only white tiles. But Sahar wanted to use a pastel green floor in the waiting zone. She had used epoxy paint to colour these tiles.

The space lets in a lot of daylight; so no artificial light is needed during the day. Only after evening are the lights turned on, the colour tone of which have also been carefully selected.

When it comes to general lighting, Sahar implemented white illumination for functional efficiency. The ambient lighting is done with warm tones. In the reception area, there is this big chandelier ring light which lets the staff choose between three different tones: white, warm and cool warm.

The ceiling has been kept minimal. There are some diagonal graphics, and uses false ceilings only where it is needed.

“The height of the space was not very high. Thus, we avoided holistic false ceilings which could make the space feel small and claustrophobic,” explained Sahar.

Visitors often mistake Daawai for a restaurant when looking at it from the outside. Overall, the design is symphonic, soothing, and one of a kind.

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