Category Archives: healthcare interior design

Dementia Village ‘De Hogeweyk’

De Hogeweyk

De Hogeweyk “Dementia Village” is a remarkably design-oriented facility for aging Dutch with advanced stage dementia. Located in the city of Weesp outside of Amsterdam, the facility houses around 150 residents in 23 small residential units with 6-7 dwellers per unit. Opened in 2012, the village strives to maintain a sense of normalcy for its residents and does so in large part through design. Caretakers wear street clothes. Molenaar&Bol&VanDillen’s master plan includes a Boulevard complete with grocery store, pub, restaurant, theater, and hairdresser. Particularly striking is the interior design throughout – there is no cookie cutter influence of a typical healthcare designer’s pragmatic please-everyone details. Instead, residents can pick from houses each decorated with a distinct and very residential feel designed to replicate a “genre” of lifestyle and create a link to the life they enjoyed outside of the village. These include homey, Christian, artisan, farming, “goois” or upperclass, Indonesian, and cultural. The restaurant and pub would not look out of place in downtown Amsterdam. The facility is owned and operated by a government-owned nursing home group called Vivium. There are also some good images available on the architecture blog Detail.


Jean-Philippe Pargade

Private hospital outside of Lille, France by Jean-Philippe Pargade

Jean-Philippe Pargade‘s Paris based architecture studio is receiving attention for a recently inaugrated private hospital located outside of Lille, France. Pictured above, the hospitality inspired hospital includes 225 beds, 10 operating rooms, and well as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and nuclear medicine units. Color blocks of spring hues matched with large windows and swaths of white, allow for clever way-finding clues in a light and crisp environment. The windows are the most strikingly unique element of the building, featuring flower motifs by artist Gary Glaser in incorporated into glazing by Ace Glass.

This hospital is not Pargade’s first project in the field of healthcare design. In 2007 they worked with Gary Glaser to colorize the Sarthe-et-Loir Health Center, Using a similar vocabulary, the firm explains that the design “creates tension between the rural landscape and the technological elegance of the architecture. The sensitive facade of silk-screen-printed glass is animated by the musical rhythm of the windows. Colour plays a major role and reveals the vital contribution to the clinics that has been made by the use of art work.”

A similar color scheme and ideology can be seen in the beautiful 2012 facade renovation at the military teaching hospital in Saint-Mande “which creates a hyphen between the city and the Bois de Vincennes, an architecture of transitions and passages, introducing fluidity between the countryside and architectural stratifications of different ages that are present at the site.”

Cara Phillips: Singular Beauty

Brooklyn photographer Cara Phillips has embarked on a project to document clinical plastic surgery spaces. The resulting images are stark, clinical, and infused with a subtle sociocultural agenda, quietly commenting on the nature of elective aesthetic procedures. Together they will be published in a book, titled “Singular Beauty.” Publication has been successfully funded by a Kickstarter campaign, and backers will receive either a PDF or a hard copy of the photo essay. Michael Paris Mazzeo, of Michael Mazzeo Projects explains:

Beauty stalks us with a condescending eye. From television screens to magazines, shop windows to billboards, there is hardly a face or figure that hasn’t been trimmed, polished, and reinvented to beleaguer us with an increasingly unattainable paradigm of physical beauty. In her savvy, new monograph, Cara Phillips explores the reassuring environments and ominous implements of cosmetic surgery. Singular Beauty provides us with a voyeuristic view into the pristine temples of physical transformation while offering an insightful critique of our culture of narcissism.

This is the first example I’ve come across of a contemporary artist pointedly engaging the latent connections between the built environment of healthcare and the societies that construct and occupy these spaces.

Coast Medical: Moeski Consulting

Vancouver interior designer Karin Bohne of Moeski Consulting made her first foray into healthcare interiors with this sustainable project for Coast Medical. Azure Magazine explains:

Having worked in small, crowded and dated offices for many years, the doctor who hired Moeski wanted a space that was welcoming for patients and comfortable for staff. Moeski  did just that, creating a modern and cool atmosphere with a palette inspired by the coastal landscape. Natural imagery and strong turquoise blue and yellow recalling the water and sun act as accents against a white backdrop. The designer’s use of a bold graphic print wall alternating in each of the exam rooms creates a focal point and adds texture, colour and visual interest to rooms that are traditionally bare.

It’s a bright and subtle space, with a simple design inspired by the sea and sun of the coast. At once unexpected and familiar, the space Bohne crafted introduces whimsical elements of modern green design without feeling overworked or fussy. In the video below, she walks viewers through the space while explaining various design elements.

BrittaBritta, Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital, Gothenburg

Swedish design firm BrittaBritta dreamed up these jungle themed exam rooms for the emergency department at Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital, in Gothenburg, Sweden. They were unveiled last month. The designers explain:

A real dream project! – To get to work with children as a customer… to give a more positive experience for the parents and children visiting these stressful environments.  Children’s Hospital has previously worked with a jungle theme in the decoration of the department. This took the form of photographs of animals from the jungle on the walls and associated narrative text about the species. Our proposal was also in the same spirit but takes it one step further! (Translated from Swedish by Google Translate)

One step further indeed. The beauty of pediatric projects is that a designer can be as wildly imaginative as a child. It’s worth noting that this design in particular is a fanciful decor that will appeal to both six year olds and sixteen year olds, not an easy balance to strike.

[via Offecct blog ]

Rooms that Rock 4 Chemo

Jennifer Jones's "Delores Room"

Lisa Silverman's "Dragonfly Room"

Lisa Silverman's "Dragonfly Room"

The above before-and-after transformations were made possible by Rooms that Rock 4 Cancer, a small, simple San Fransisco non-profit striving to connecting hospitals and clinics that provide outpatient chemotherapy with interior designers willing to donate their time and effort to transform drab chemotherapy rooms. The project was started in May 2011 when artist Nancy J. Ballard donated a watercolor to her San Fransisco doctor’s office. The narrative on the website goes like this – “Dr. Hufford was overjoyed with the artistic gifts of generosity, yet she saw a much bigger future for the project. In an effort to revamp the chemotherapy rooms in their entirety, Nancy reached out to twenty local interior designers for their professional aid. Within three days, six designers had reacted enthusiastically, volunteering their time and creative efforts for the first RTR4C Project.” The projects are funded by donations and there have been five room makeovers to date, four at Dr. Stephen Hufford’s office and one at the Marin Cancer Care. Ballard is in conversation with additional cancer treatment centers.

It’s a remarkably simple idea that makes a big impact on these small spaces. Though one might argue that employing the services of interior designers without specific healthcare training isn’t ideal, the rooms had no discernible design scheme in their before pictures, so any practicing designer’s vision will effectively enhance the existing utilitarian spaces. The project provides publicity for the designers involved, taking the “decorator’s showcase” house idea and applying it to healthcare spaces. An inspiring project, that I hope reaches far and wide.

Forma Design

AFTER PICTURE: Capital Oral & Facial Surgery Center

BEFORE PHOTO: Capital Oral & Facial Surgery Center

Obeid Dental

bloo dental

Forma is a small Washington DC studio who’s designers created these sleek integrated design solutions. The above images, of the Capital Oral & Facial Surgery Center, Obeid Dental, and bloo dental, represent three of the nine healthcare projects the primarily residential studio has completed. bloo is my personal favorite, spirited and particularly charming because the dentist’s passion is scuba diving. From bloo dental’s website:

From the dictionary we learn the pronunciation of the word “blue” is “bloō”, which has been chosen as the name of our practice. Not only is blue Dr. Rahim’s favorite color, but it also reminds him of one of his favorite places: the ocean, which offers peace and tranquility. With this concept in mind, Dr. Haress Rahim and his architect (FORMA Design) dove into unchartered waters to design a modern practice using state-of-the-art technology with an office decor that lends itself to the blue color scheme complete with ocean graphics, curved architecture and textured seapod walls.

There is also a youtube video in which Dr. Rahim gives a through tour of his new office, and you can tell he truly loves the new space. Forma does a great job drawing inspiration from the personalities of their private healthcare clients – the website explains that Dr. Obeid “wanted an office that reflected his progressive personal and pushed the envelope on all levels” and so they strove to create an ultramodern luxurious space, and succeeded. At the moment, Forma is taking on projects primarily in the DC area but given their portfolio, they have the potential to reach much further. Each project does immediately read as a contemporary medical space, but the soft sculptural curves, unexpected textures, sleek furniture,  and thoughtful non-clinical lighting consistently create a spirited personality so many fail to cultivate.

ORL Clinic / Mal-Vi Architects

image © giorgio papadopoulos, mal-vi architects

Mal-Vi Architects created a warm, surprising, and professional interior for a 970 square foot  ORL clinic in Thessaloniki Greece. ORL stands for otorhinolaryngology in Greek, or, quite literally, “the study of ear and throat.” It’s safe to assume that this particular practice likely has a focus on the ear given the presence of a prominent “acoustic wave” partition. From the Mal-Vi’s website:

Given the fact that the client was a newly arrived surgeon in Thessaloniki (Greece), we were handed the task of creating a memorable office space, providing an experience as distant as possible from the usual image one associates with a visit to a doctor’s studio. In order to separate the medic’s office and exam room from the reception space and waiting room, a flexible partition was designed. The partition incorporates the reception desk, as well as the exam room entrance, while its bulging shape—deriving from the form of an acoustic wave, is a reference to the practitioner’s field of specialty.

The text on the waiting room walls below is the Hippocratic oath (in Greek, naturally). The space is sleek, modern, and successfully looks nothing like a traditional doctor’s office. The lighting design is by local lighting company Reflectlights, and the green space design is by VitaVerde.

image © giorgio papadopoulos, mal-vi architects

image © giorgio papadopoulos, mal-vi architects

(via Designboom)

Kentish Town Health Centre

I’ve posted a number of word-heavy blog posts recently. Here are some beautiful images of one of my all time favorite healthcare buildings, the Kentish Town Health Centre in London. It opened in 2008, and was designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

It’s such a gorgeous building. According to World News Architecture it houses a large GP practice, a dentist, paediatric, dental and children’s services, breast screening and diagnostic imaging, plus office space, staff facilities, library and meeting rooms all designed around an internal street. From the architects’ publication on the project:

The vision was to create a wonderful building where not only medicine but health and art came together for the community. Ideas of transparency and  connectivity were embraced by the architects  and the whole team worked collaboratively to create a building that expresses the new, holistic approach to healthcare. KTHC creates a bold civic presence that responds to its environment.

Here is a wonderful 4 minute video wherein the architect, Paul Monaghan, explains the project with images of the building itself interspersed.


Legacy ER, in Frisco Texas, is a freestanding emergency room that serves as both an urgent care clinic for non-emergency ailments and a fully functioning ER. Traditionally, these kinds of medicines were seldom housed under the same brand in the same roof, but having them integrated ensures you don’t need to decide whether a trip to urgent care or the ER is more appropriate. However, the two different kinds of care happen on two different tracks, with the nursing station in between, so a toddler with a sore throat won’t be right next to someone with a major knife wound.  All of this happens in a sleek 6,200 square food setting designed by Texas firm 5g. From a 2008 press release on the LegacyER website:

The three founders of Legacy ER, Kirk D. Mahon, M.D., Steven E. Martz, M.D., FACEP and Jay R. Woody, M.D., FACEP wanted a building that was more organic in nature and comforting to patients. To provide rooms with privacy, definition was made using opaque walls and translucent glazing panels. The effect is sound proofed rooms without the use of claustrophobic cubicles or draping. Exposed, polished concrete floors and exterior zinc panels further enhance the patient experience by offering a tactile quality, while natural light provides brightness without the harsh, sterile feel that artificial lighting traditionally offers.

There is also a great write-up of the project on Architectural Record’s website. It’s a cutting-edge concept that I think we’ll see more and more of as in-hospital emergency rooms become even more burdened, and the space looks completely appropriate for it’s function. Serene, inviting, and reassuringly sterile. LegacyER has a perfect five star rating on yelp, an extremely rare feat for a medical facility of an urgent or emergency nature.


I want this to be a blog that features everything from billion dollar healthcare buildings by the world’s best architects, to cleverly designed devices that make procedures easier, to these absurd but simultaneously sort of brilliant ixxi panels that consist of dozens or hundreds of moisture resistant, tear-proof synthetic paper panels held together with X brackets. This Dutch-designed system could so easily be used to create large scale, high impact wall decor or even to construct inexpensive visual dividers where none previously existed. Hard to imagine they would pass hospital code but in more casual primary care setting they provide a highly customizable, easily shipped, assembled, disassembled, and moved visual kick. They can be made to any size (a gigantic 6.5 by 6.5 mural costs 131 Euros) with any single image OR any collage of tens or hundreds of images. The potential, then, exists for patients to each take responsibility for an individual panel that would make up the overall image. ixxi is a simple, affordable product that could provide a customized, and spirited focus point for a variety of clinical spaces.

MAKER salon

It’s a hair salon, in Japan, but imagine if it were a waiting room in America! It looks like it would be a fairly simple and affordable build in an existing space – maybe with the exception of the curved wooden elements. This was designed by Japanese firm MAKER (no English version). Warm & organic the layout provides a variety of spaces for different kinds of interactions moods. The sheer curtains provide a safe space that at the same time allows for visual and sound connection to desk staff so waiting patents can easily be contacted and are reassured that someone is aware of their still-waiting status.

(via archdaily)

ALL CITY Health: Graffiti 207/Pediatrics 2000

In 2004, urban-art (graffiti) gallerist Hugo Martine and pediatrician Juan Tapia, MD teamed up to open ALL CITY, a one-of-a-kind graffiti art gallery pediatrician hybrid in New York City called Graffiti 207. Visuals and in-depth information on this is scarce but it’s too interesting to ignore so the e-sleuthing I’ve done will need to suffice. Nothing on the website appears to have been touched since 2009.  From the mission statement, we can glean ALL CITY is/was a:

“Network of artists, designers and medical practitioners to create and run coordinated arts and health programs in New York City. Our new initiative, ALL CITY Health: Healing Communities through Art and Medicine, will fully integrate art into pediatric practice to empower children and families to live healthier lives. ALL CITY Health will provide coordinated arts and medical programs that address the social challenges confronting at-risk urban youth and their families.”

The two founders spearheaded a two million dollar project to turn an old ballroom into an art gallery/pediatric care facility on 207th Steet that both served the needs of its community and strove to playfully fit its overall aesthetic. While ALL CITY Health in it’s original format seems to be defunct, Dr. Tapia’s pediatric practice, Pediatrics 2000, is definitely thriving with two locations and ten medical staff. One of these locations is still the ALL CITY facility on 207th Street. The front window of the waiting room is an urban playground of sorts, and each interior room has its own theme. Artists were given freedom do to as they pleased, but were told their creations couldn’t be aggressive or scary, according to a 2004 New York Times article on the project. The facility was designed to:

“Challenge of the traditional medical clinic design model. The clinic and gallery space boast a bold color palette, implementing graffiti art to transform the building into a vibrant state-of-the-art medical facility and tri-level art gallery” all the while striving to ” democratize art and challenge common perceptions of art appreciation as an activity exclusive to the wealthy”

It’s such an incredible, unique project I wish that it was better documented online and that there was a bit more information about where the relatively large budget came from (and why ALL CITY no longer appears to be active). Nevertheless its pretty inspiring that these two teamed up to create such a special health space for a community.