[PHOTO STORY] A Redesigned Chinese Medicine Shop in Taipei

[PHOTO STORY] A Redesigned Chinese Medicine Shop in Taipei

What you need to know

The popularity of Chinese medicine has been waning, but this traditional medicine clinic is rejuvenating itself through interior design.

Change or perish.

That is the choice facing traditional medicine shops in this city where storefront rents have been rising and the popularity of Chinese medicine has been waning. Some of the oldest medicine shops in the city take it all in stride. There is one in the Dadaocheng neighborhood where the store layout has remained unchanged — on purpose — since 1875.

But for Essentia, a traditional clinic first established in 1982, the decision was to rejuvenate and thrive.

To compare, the blue sign shows the original storefront on Roosevelt Road, Section 5, No. 295 in Taipei City.


Is there anything less inviting than a wall of gray marble?

This is what Essentia looks like today. Let there be light.


The shop is located in Wenshan District, in one of those 30-plus-year-old buildings commonly found sitting empty and abandoned, waiting patiently to be “uprooted” into an anonymous and shiny new high-rise.

But instead of sitting idle, the owners of Essentia hired Tokyo-based studio moyadesign to look to the future, refresh the store and bring in new customers.


The store was closed for three months during 2015 for the renovation.

The centerpiece is the original wooden antique counter with shelves with drawers.


Moyadesign says the surfaces were polished and restored, but have been kept in their previous positions so the renovated store still feels familiar to its regular customers.

There are plenty of sitting areas where customers can wait for their appointments, drink tea and socialize.


On top of the store refresh, moyadesign worked on new packaging designs for Essentia’s product line.

It is rare — seriously, too rare — to see established Taiwanese businesses that are willing to invest in their own future.

Here’s to seeing Essentia doing business in this location for 100 more years.


Tricky Taipei has authorized publication of this article. The original text is published here.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Edward White