Healthcare Design - a Responsibility Beyond Aesthetics - The Design Forum 2019

March 28, 2019

Brand Creative’s Creative Director, Carla Conte was recently invited to participate in one of the panel discussions at the Design Forum 2019, hosted by Design Middle East.

The Design Forum 2019 presented an opportunity for attendees to get acquainted with and explore some exciting industry topics such as millennials’ approach to design, the demand of human-centric buildings, revolution in healthcare design, and the importance of lighting in architecture. Carla joined, Stas Louca -  H&A, Joseph Charles -  Pinnacle interiors, Cutis Laitinen – AECOM Middle East and Clive Robertson – Stantec to discuss, How Healthcare design is more than just aesthetics?

There has been a sudden shift in the design industry towards the healthcare sector. Leading firms are coming forward and delivering quality designs that enhance the guest and patient experience. The idea is to create a design that has a positive environmental impact directed toward holistic healing.

There should be harmony between a design that favors the patient- centric approach and an employee-centric design, which is necessary to ensure the output of work is not affected. The question however is, are we creating well designed healthcare environments?

The panel discussed a variety of approaches in response to this sudden shift and where design is going in healthcare.

One new trend that has emerged is, convenient almost ‘fast-food’ style medical kiosks. These provide online consultations and ultimately accessible healthcare. As foreign as this sounds it does make sense in today’s fast paced lifestyle.

Technology within the healthcare sector has also changed substantially, especially when it comes to chronic illness treatments. Therefore, the challenge is for interior design to respond to the demands of technology. A great deal of consideration should therefore be applied in order to seamlessly integrate equipment within the overall design.

Carla acknowledged the importance of design within healthcare especially in terms of mental health and the recovery process. Recovery is a critical stage to consider as, good design can in fact speed up the healing process. This has now been proven and there is substantial data to support this, which justifies the need for thoughtfully designed spaces that promote healing. “Nobody wants to be reminded that they are sick”, said Carla. Therefore, these critical, healing spaces should make them feel like human beings and not patients.

This considered design approach should not only be applied to those who are recovering, but also to the Doctors and staff. It is important for Doctors and staff to be able to rest, relax and recharge in order to operate at an optimum level. The spaces designed for hospital staff need to create a sense of calm in order to support their performance.   A project that is close to Carla’s heart is Al Jalila Children’s hospital. Putting empathy and emotion at the center of the design strategy was key. In order to make children and their families feel as though they are not in a clinical environment, but rather a welcoming and playful space with bright pops of color. Another key consideration was the consultation areas, it was important to break down the formal barriers and create a cozy, safe space that gave children and their families a sense of comfort and home.

There definitely seems to be a more mindful approach to healthcare design nowadays and we just hope to see this continue into the future.    

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