When we think about construction, we are often inspired by dramatic exteriors and modern awe-inspiring exterior building facades. What we need to realize, what happens inside is more important, as that is where we spend the bulk of our time. The health of the space, the mood it creates, its functionality and efficiency are all important factors. They impact people.
We also often tend to think of people in buildings, working, shopping, exploring. Our children spend most of their time in schools, universities, and unfortunately at times, hospitals. It is our job to make sure those spaces are healthy and inspirational. Schools and hospitals are often drab and intimidating….with concrete block painted walls or plastic coated laminated walls and floors. Not exactly inspirational.
What is biggest inspirational aspect is the movement toward healthier, happier design at Children’s Hospitals across the country, most recently notable at the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Image by Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Designed by FKP Interiors out of Houston, Texas, the hospital is a wonderland for children that may need a positive environment to lift their spirits just a little in what could be a very difficult time. History has us sterilizing these environments (literally and through design), likely driven by some of the more drab, sterile materials that have been used for decades.
Golisano has creative ways to lift spirits like using mascots to interact with its patients to liven their spirits, but the design is what really caught our attention. Bright colors adorn the walls and desks, and each floor (there are seven) has a different color, including bright green, purple and orange. In order to achieve this, they chose Durat solid surface, a vibrant, recycled material that can be seamlessly installed to eliminate any grout lines and create a perfectly smooth, antimicrobial surface. Typically, a more dated solid surface Corian would be used, but that material is relegated to a largely dull palette, whereas Durat has virtually every color imaginable.
Durat was developed in 1990 by a pair of design-minded innovators who wanted to take solid surface to a new level and design something sleek, modern, and in typical Scandinavian fashion, created with protecting the environment in mind. Available as sheets for counters, sink bowls, and tubs, Durat has revamped the role of solid surface. Not imitating stone or quartz, Durat brings a vibrant color palette to the design world, which was the reasoning on why it was discovered for the Golisano project.
Other Children’s Hospitals have used Durat or plan to as they realize the importance of color in engaging the mind and the role that certain colors have in evoking emotion, something Golisano hospital did brilliantly.
Image: Texas Children's Hospital The Woodlands designed by FKP.
Color is known to be a mood lifter and Golisano’s creative use of color to uplift the moods of its patients while they get better should inspire us all.