ODE Dermatology Clinic / Foolscap Studio
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Manufacturers: Haymes painting, In the style, Marble, RC+D, Warwick fabrics, amlite, summit stone, Billy, CCS, Earp Bros., Forbo, Kvadrat, Nood Co., studio henry wilson, Zepel fabrics
Text description provided by the architects. ODE Dermatology merges retail with hotel-style service and hospitality-inspired luxury to create a unique wellness destination. Housed in a heritage building on Melbourne’s prestigious Gertrude Street, a technological overhaul and lavish interior fit-out reflects the client’s dual medical and aesthetic philosophy: holistic skincare should be an ode to oneself.
Establishing her first-ever independent clinic, medical dermatologist Dr. Shyamalar Gunatheesan engaged our studio to create ODE: a destination that draws on the principles of upscale retail and hospitality to deliver a of holistic wellness.
The goal was to design a skincare clinic that didn’t feel like a sterile environment, but more like a luxury hotel. Our design strategy emphasized inner beauty, informing our design approach: “Inside-out” refers to the body through translucent and transformative materials, while “duality as unity” balances the human with high technology, manifested by contemporary design insertions in a heritage context.
Despite a heritage overlay on the facade only, our studio has chosen to keep the entire double-brick facade and the old residence (with the exception of a small addition of a lean-to in fiber cement panels). This allowed us to restore the original details and integrate them into a design that promotes the adaptive reuse of a Victorian building while meeting the strict Australian regulations required for clinical treatment areas. Planning considerations were made for a dedicated staff room and nurse’s station, sterilization facilities, and the concealment of large medical equipment in custom millwork.
Maximizing its storefront, ODE’s reception and retail space (renamed “concierge”) acts as a beacon for passers-by. Glossy, reflective, and opalescent surfaces are offset by a dramatic light-absorbing velvet curtain that leads clients along the clinic’s “spine”: a purpose-built side extension, topped by a leafy skylight. This intervention, along with an extension from the ground floor to the rear, proved to be crucial for the functioning of the space and helped bring in diffused natural light and interior greenery.
Clients await their consultations in the centrally located Decompression Lounge, furnished with designer pieces, soft textiles and a custom-designed lustrous houndstooth rug, while treatment rooms offer state-of-the-art therapies in elevated environments. A series of striking photographic impressions reinforce the multi-sensory journey.