by Jerry ElengicalJul 29, 2022
Have you ever imagined what fairytales may look like? Have you ever felt there was a world beyond the sky? Have you mimicked the actions of the animal clouds? Have you ever been a hopeless child stuck in the body of an adult?
Making a portion of fantasy in the real world, the 450 sqm area of a 30-year-old three-storey shophouse became the cauldron for Thailand-based design studio Hyper Haus. In a careful ratio of whimsical dreamscape and practical functionality, Doctor Mek Clinic is a design portion that transports you to a fairytale wonderland. With a dash of quirky colourful sprinkles in the form of furniture design, props and lighting, the designer maximises the playfulness of the space. Resting on the side of Bantatthong's main road in inner-city Bangkok, the clinic presents itself like a carnival of children's stories for the grown-ups.
Between the streets with rows of decades-old commercial shophouses, the entrance to the clinic exists like a rabbit hole to the wonderland. Stepping inside, one would find themselves in a space that doesn't seem real. Dominated by a colourful palette of fun-spirited elements, the visitors can imagine the functionality of the area to be anything but not medical. Primarily, the double-height scale of the entrance with sculptural hanging lights adorning the space builds much curiosity. Within its resemblance to an abstract of oversized flowers hanging upside down, the attention then shifts from the lighting design to the green and orange velvet sofas which add to the quirkiness of the interior design. Exaggerated floral and cactus arrangements against the pixelated backdrop of the wallpaper take away the last possible connection that the user has to the mundane reality of subtle visuals. The curvaceous plan of the entrance area accommodates different functions through separate flooring patterns and without any vertical separations. Adding to the whimsical theme of the colourful interiors, the placement of the furniture in the entrance area draws similarities to the set design for the mystical forest of a fantasy fable.
The design concept, the 'Wonderland’s Gallery', is created from a fun interpretation of Mek, the name of the clinic and the Thai word for 'cloud'. Presenting an interesting direction to perceiving spaces, each area is given a unique name with respect to its theme. At the waiting area, nicknamed 'Tropical Oasis Garden', the visitors are introduced to the experience around them with refreshments that follow the design themes of the interiors. With high-quality lighting and exclusive photo zones, corners and props of the garden encourage the visitors to indulge in aesthetic photography. Moving from the waiting area to the treatment rooms, the visitors encounter 'White Blue Graphic Catwalk', a walkway decorated with a graphic design with detail of blue and white geometric design.
Transforming from the spectacle of the reds and greens in the waiting area, the staircase design adopts a mixture of geometric patterns in the 80s colour palette. Providing attention to the visual appearance of the stairs, the designers mention, "A staircase isn’t just a component where people walk past. In many significant places and buildings around the world, stairs are where people like to take pictures in, a space that connects different floors, a transition that prepares users for entering a new realm, existing as a part of the entire spatial relationship."
However, design prioritises the five procedure rooms to adorn different vibes. The ground floor has two procedure rooms, each designed to impart a different sense. The ‘Secret Rocket’ room aims to take users into the vast and distant void with geometrical forms and lines inspired by 1970s aesthetics. Inspired by the cockpit of a spacecraft in science fiction movies, the ceiling takes shape in freeform and curved lines. The second procedure room reflects the concept of ‘keep calm and warm’ in a beige mood board, imparting the feel of an autumn meadow. Through the tactility of the floor tiles, the low-relief texture resembles the feeling of being given a Thai foot massage.
The first floor houses four procedure rooms. Adorned in light mint colour, 'Green Therapy' intends to make clients experience the kind of relaxation that is akin to a spa treatment. Embracing feminity, 'Sweet Baby Pink' has a cotton candy pink and peacock graphic on the wall that conveys grace and delicateness. The 'Primary Color Room', owing to its name, uses the shades red, yellow and blue to create a genesis of endless combinations of colours. In a mixture of different explorations, nothing in Doctor Mek Clinic relates to each other. Every space has a different vibe, style, mood and materiality.
At the end of the experience, while exiting the clinic, one is left with the tactile feeling of having heard a good story. The kind of story which takes you to places through words. Only this time, you were actually there, under the huge floral bouquets, holding flowers bigger than your face, comfortably hugging a cactus, sitting on a stone which feels like a pillow, walking through spaces with a mystical ceiling, and finding a new portal at every doorway. While taking users on an overwhelming journey that demystifies the borders of fantasy and reality, Doctor Mek Clinic encompasses its philosophies to real spaces. However, amid the attractive spaces shaping delusional stories, there lie the realities of its functions. “Everyone has a right to dream and imagine. A dream town floating in and above the clouds in your imagination is made into reality, here,” concludes Hyper Haus. So, when interior design becomes a magic wand that can transform any space into a journey, story and experience, is it following the function or reinventing conventional styles of typology?