by STIRworldSep 16, 2022
A trip to the dentist remains a daunting and taxing one for the strongest-minded of us. For children, dental clinics are places of incessant white, clinical surfaces smelling of disinfectant, where they sit under a blinding spotlight in a reclining chair of torture to be told that candies are the enemy. Spanish design office Vitale Studio approached the interior design of this Children ́s Dentistry Clinic with curated caution, interpreting the essence of the clinic through and for its wonder-eyed users to make them feel safe, while promising to make those dreaded visits more fun.
The space purposefully moves away from the usual aseptic clinic, and instead, opts for bright and colourful spatial gestures, with learning at the core. “The clinic should be friendly and welcoming, but without falling into a childish aesthetic, and turn stress and fear (common to dental visits) into confidence and tranquillity,” shares Vitale Studio.
Located in Castellón, Spain, the clinic is exclusively dedicated to paediatric dentistry and orthodontics (for children and adolescents), its insides revealing a restrained yet bright character, replete with soft coral walls, light geometric arches, cream coloured square mosaic tiles, and rounded furniture along with hued accents. The clinic’s corporate setting is retained within a space that is colourful without being too distracting or sensorially overpowering, settling in as a positive, familiar, and comfortable space. Dr. Isabel Cadroy, the client, does not agree with the aesthetic of some children's clinics that are a bedlam of Disney and cartoon characters, with princesses, bunnies, or superheroes settling down as décor on garishly bright surfaces. The challenge, thus, "was to design a clinic for children without resorting to the obvious,” reveal Santiago Martín, Lucía Chover, and Carlos Folch, co-directors at Vitale Studio.
The 350 sq.m. healthcare design facility is spread over two floors, and focuses on the “importance of educating families to achieve good oral health and improve the quality of life of their patients,” the Spanish design studio says. Following this, Vitale generates a common thread within the clinic to highlight their concept of “learning at the dentist”, its signages, colours, and materials employed to make the dental procedures, processes, and treatments understandable and less daunting for patients.
Learning routes of children’s cognitive development inform the creative axis and zoning of the interior design, taking cues from construction or building block puzzle games such as Lego or Jenga. Jutting pieces and elementary geometries of circles, triangles, and squares manifest into the walls, ceilings, and surface features at the clinic’s preamble, and throughout. “The clinic surprises both children and adults with recognisable, out-of-scale elements that refer to children's learning and play, such as huge porticos, lamps in the form of wooden mobiles, or paneling like jigsaw puzzles. The result is an evocative space that speaks with the children and takes grown-ups back to their carefree days of childhood,” Chover says. Even the branding, signages, and typeface used within the space are based on rudimentary geometric figures, their shapes referencing children’s building blocks.
The airy and bright open waiting area is articulated with versatile and modular furniture. All patient care and emergency areas are located at street level for faster and easier access, while the basement is used for personnel and operational uses. After entering through a 3-meter-high arch made of wooden pieces, the capsule-shaped seats take center stage and create an environment of relaxation and protection. “The aim is to bring tranquillity and well-being to patients with soft shapes and warm indirect lighting,” Martín reiterates.
Slightly budging and shiny 10x10 ceramic tiles in off-white garb the reception lobby, with forest green grouting in between, reminiscent of typical notebook grids. These also match the rounded, deep green furniture that takes residence here, including wall niches with seating at the bottom. The colour green is proven to invoke states of calmness, positivity, and healing apart from symbolising a healthy life, and is also manifested in the form of fresh indoor plants that pepper Isabel Cadroy’s Paediatric Dentistry Clinic, especially in spaces of primary contact with patients, like their treatment cubicles. The walls stay protected with pantographed birch plywood panels that convey warmth, subtlety, and tranquillity while suspended orbs illuminate the place softly.
Cosy tunnels with crowning arches amble through the circulation areas, injecting intrigue and rhythm to the clinic. The first one leads to the washrooms and serves as a transition between the entrance area and the rest of the clinic. It then opens into the radiology room and to the post-treatment room through another wooden portico and to the area that goes down to the basement. A spectacular and winding five-meter-high mobile lighting piece illuminates the staircase connecting the two levels.
A second tunnel leads to the sedation room and the treatment boxes that are located at the rear of the clinic, ensuring utmost privacy and curbed noise from the equipment. An atypical medical area, in tune with the rest of the clinic, receives natural light from a massive window, with views to a formidable vertical garden. Terracotta red, symbolising creativity and confidence sheathes surfaces as well, much like the few accents of egg yolk yellow that dress chairs and round bench cushions to generate small pockets of cheery optimism and joy within the whiteness of this space.
The interior designers also relay that it was crucial for the clinic’s design to take into account ease and repeated frequency of maintenance and cleanliness. Continuous vinyl flooring was chosen for being the most suitable for a medical clinic, with its excellent performance, durability, and mechanical and stain resistance. The walls are also covered with the same continuous vinyl to protect them, accompanied by ceramic cladding and decorative plywood panels.
“The result is a space of well-being, safety, and knowledge that, by combining traditional educational elements with the image of the clinic, achieves a direct perception of the personality of the doctor and her vision of paediatric dentistry. For adults, it is an environment that nods to their childhood, and for children, a comfortable and familiar space where they get to engage in learning about oral health,” Folch observes.
By cultivating and harnessing the power of a learning-led environment, the clinic encourages children and respects their abounding curiosity, by becoming a space that hands them with knowledge about their potential tooth troubles and consequent treatments. The refreshing interiors of Isabel Cadroy Children ́s Dentistry Clinic, with its chosen bright tones, soft-edged furniture, and calming material palettes also convey a sense of encouragement and safety, by humanising a potentially intimidating setting.
Name: Isabel Cadroy Children ́s Dentistry Clinic
Location: Navarra, 60, Castellón, Spain
Area: 350 sq.m.
Year of completion: 2021
Client: Dr. Isabel Cadroy
Interior Design, branding and suspension lamps: Vitale
Architecture: Font Arquitectura
Flooring and cladding: Tarkett