When one considers different types of offices, a Medical Office stands out as being clean, sterile and awkwardly quiet. Other descriptions may come to mind. Of course, these are appropriate for the way they should be. However, understanding the feelings and emotions of those who will be transiting through the space, should help in evoking a well-considered, warm and comfortable design. The physical attributes of a space have great bearing on the mental state of the occupants. They will feel positive outcomes if executed well. There has been a positive shift in the design of office spaces that focus on the occupiers and medical waiting or consultation rooms should be no different. Now is the time to be re-thinking medical fit-outs!
In fact, the health and well-being of those patients should be paramount in design considerations. The design process starts by understanding how a space needs to be centred for those who use it. For a medical fit-out, we believe there are three main concerns to ensure an affirmative scheme: design, durability and practicality.
Function and flow of a medical practice is key as consulting rooms need to be easily accessible and conveniently located optimising patient flow and staff processes, as well as ensuring the space is compliant as per building standards.
Another consideration when re-thinking medical fit-outs is making the rooms fit-for-purpose; for example, if children are likely to be in the practice it is sensible to create a space that accommodates children areas.
Most importantly, the space needs to be comfortable and evoke a sense of calm for the waiting patients. Colours, lighting and soft furnishings will play an important role in layering elements to achieve the right aesthetic and atmosphere.
The Bates Smart designed Cabrini Malvern Gandel Wing Hospital, Melbourne and winner of the INDE Awards, set out with the “objective of improving the well-being of patients.” The “design created a calm and welcoming environment that maximised views, provided clear way-finding and utilised warm neutral materials.” Thought of as a “wellness centre” rather than a place for the sick, the Gandel Wing is designed to facilitate and amplify positive outcomes. If we start a brief with this thinking, the boundaries of medical fit-outs will be rethought for the better in the future.
Secondly, when re-thinking medical fit-outs, the space must be durable and built to withstand a high level of foot traffic. In smaller medical practices, individuals are transiting continuously every day, thus good quality and hard-wearing furniture and fabrics are vital in ensuring the longevity of the space without it looking tired, unclean and worn.
Additionally, there should be durability to the design. While following trends will look wonderful in the beginning, we must consider if it will date quickly. Like all fit-outs, one needs the space to look assured for the longest amount of time. Choose an aesthetic that won’t require having to make major changes prematurely because the look has become outdated and used.
Last, but not least, a medical fit-out is a matter of form and function working together to create a space that makes practical sense and the flow processes easier. Together these elements complimenting good design and evoking wellness. Additionally, we should consider how the patients will feel in the space, ensuring a sense of privacy and comfort; re-thinking medical fit-outs from the moment patients walk through the door.
If possible, use daylight extensively; it is a practical solution that will create warmth and induce positive feelings. If the opportunity is available, utilise operable windows for natural ventilation.
De-stigmatise the Functionality
Re-thinking medical fit-outs / spaces as places for the sick to be places for wellness is an important first step in designing fit-outs that cultivate positive outcomes. The Ralph Germann designed medical surgery in Switzerland has simple and clean lines that are reminiscent of Scandinavian design. When we pair with warm and thoughtful lighting a sense of calm is created rather than sterility. As a result, the typical negative stigma of medical fit-outs we have come to know and often experience has been removed.
Whether you’re planning on starting your own practice, relocating to something new or renovating to improve an old surgery, don’t be fooled into thinking a functional space is free from a design that encourages genuine mental well-being. Never underestimate the power music, lighting, colour and textures have on human psychology.
Finally, time and budget constraints shouldn’t mean compromising on design or quality. With an in house interior design team, inOne are able to drive design and functionality into a space that meets the purpose of the service offered. We work within budgets and time constraints, managing the whole process from permits to building approvals and final styling options.