The need to upgrade the design of medical and dental offices has been talked and written about for at least three decades. Yet real change has not taken place. Certainly not in the non-luxury world. From the customer perspective, most are still boring, bland and decidedly “medical.” Yes, we understand the need for hygiene and procedural and protocols and requirements, but is there a law about everything needing to be boring and slightly scary-looking as well?
The medical world is traditional and conservative. Perhaps the need to be, and appear to be, trustworthy and reliable has been confused with boring? We have encountered this attitude many times and it is evidenced, for example, in the design of new tools and devices as well. They evoke anxiety and fear, rather than comfort and healing.
We are not advocating frivolity here or silliness but instead we look for a bit of true customer-focus, comfort, convenience and visual pleasure. We are looking for design that reflects wellness rather than sickness, comfort rather than fear.
In the Ruixiang Dental Clinic, occupying a street-front location in the prosperous city of Rui’an in Wenzhou City, China, Chinese design firm JACKY.W Design has achieved some of what we are looking for. The lightness and friendliness of the clinic creates a resemblance to a spa more than to a medical facility.
The smart use of features such as soft lighting, light wood and rounded corners, creates a comforting ambiance that is further enhanced with the natural-tone furnishings and home-like accents, such as small natural-wood side tables and plants. However, the goal is not to be homey, rather the focus is on comfort and ease.
The 194 square-metre (2,088 sq. ft) space includes a large reception and waiting area, four treatment rooms, a consulting room and six functional rooms that include the disinfection room and the equipment room. We do not see any evidence that this design direction would somehow undermine the professionalism and expertise of the doctors and expert staff working at the clinic. We hope to see more of this and soon. Tuija Seipell