Trained on three continents, Nic Lee traveled to Denmark as an exchange student and to the U.S. to get his master’s in interior design at Pratt Institute and later join M Moser Associates. He then returned to work in his native Taiwan before founding award-winning studio Waterfrom Design, known for experimental projects shot through with sly humor and irreverence. And that sensibility resonated with a third-generation pharmacist looking to upend family tradition.
Lee’s plan for the drugstore, its name a mash-up of molecule and cure, was to steer clear of lab sterility. Instead, he inserted bright color via paper stacked on the clear acrylic shelving. Elsewhere, to provide contrasting texture, shelving is backed by walls surfaced in white pebbles. He also jettisoned the standard-issue pharmacy counter in favor of a long dispensing table fabricated from Chinese fir supported by a base made from the trunk of a 100-year-old lychee tree. Overhead, an “urban forest” hangs from wires. “My aesthetic comes from approximating what is natural,” he notes. Like half a strand of DNA, a staircase in copper-painted iron spirals through the 1,300 square feet to reach a mezzanine. Its floor is laser-cut with triangles, casting dappled shadows akin to sun filtered through leaves.
Project Team: Richard Ku; Kate Chang.