Analysis: Experts reveal how healthcare design has developed over the years

Prime Hospital in Dubai has been designed by dwp.

From new-build facilities to renovated units, regional experts and designers share their recent projects and products and talk about how healthcare design has changed over the years.

In recent years, contemporary hospital design has moved away from the sterile institution style toward medical facilities that feel more inviting, user-friendly and convenient to visitors. Healthcare design, however, is vital not just for patients’ wellbeing and visitors’ experience but also for the economics of an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Following the client’s brief to provide an economical and welcoming design of an international standard, interior design firm dwp has recently designed selected areas for the 70-bed Prime Hospital in Dubai. The circulation through spaces and the need to ensure a welcoming environment for both patients and visitors was carefully considered by designers. In a move away from the usual white work surfaces in public areas, dwp made use of warm colours, natural elements and soft lighting.

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Reception area is more reminiscent of a hotel than a hospital.

Reception area is more reminiscent of a hotel than a hospital.

“The idea is to promote wellness and wellbeing, rather than the notion of the purely clinical aspect of healthcare,” says Dima Shibly, senior interior designer of dwp. “The design also addressed the functionality of the reception areas and provided traditional and open-style desks in the consultation rooms.”

The scope of the project included interior design for the main entrance lobby and atrium, the emergency room reception, the radiology reception, corridors, nursing stations, pharmacy, consultation rooms, and the paediatrics reception alongside deluxe and VIP patient rooms.

“In contrast with many hospital facilities that feel overly clinical and uninviting, the aim of the design of Prime Hospital was to create a sense of wellbeing, which was generated through the creation of simple, efficient and peaceful spaces,” she says.

The hospital offers comfort and convenience for both patients and their relatives.

The hospital offers comfort and convenience for both patients and their relatives.

The layout of Prime Hospital is kept very simple and clear to ensure easy movement, while clear wayfinding ensures staff and patients can easily navigate through the building. The lobby, situated in the middle of the hospital, had to ensure easy access to all sections.

“The design encourages a feeling of arriving in a luxury healthcare facility with the reception more reminiscent of a hotel than a hospital,” adds Shibly.

The lobby displays sofa seating and a grand feature guides those arriving straight to the reception desk. To reinforce the luxury and premium impression of Prime Hospital, the lobby makes use of high-quality materials such as timber veneers, onyx stone for the reception desk, marble flooring and glass. Space under the escalator is used to house ATMs and a shop is also present at the entrance.

Musalla Medical Centre in Dubai was refurbished by Al-Futtaim Interiors.

Musalla Medical Centre in Dubai was refurbished by Al-Futtaim Interiors.

Shibly says: “The patient rooms were designed to give the impression of a comforting hotel guest room rather than a typical clinical hospital ward. Our design is modern and warm and the rooms include a convertible sofa bed for the comfort and convenience of the relatives of patients.”

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