Healthcare Facilities Embrace a Mixture of Simple and Bold Designs

hospital waiting room design

As different artistic movements continue to influence interior design, we have seen hospitals embrace both bold, often surrealist styles as well as simple, more minimalist styles throughout their facilities.

Is it better for healthcare facilities to focus on simplicity or bold designs? While bold designs are a way to differentiate a facility from its competition, certain environments call for a simple touch of minimalist in order to provide better care for patients and make the jobs nurses and other staff members easier. 

A Quick Bit of Art History: Why is There a Battle Between Bold and the Simplicity?

As modern art progressed through the 19th century, realism and naturalism were the dominate movements, depicting scenes that were created with technical accuracy. By the 1920s artists began to take a more bold approach to art. Surrealism was the primary cultural movement until 1940, when abstract expressionism took center stage. Both of these movements were heavy on big, bold designs that evoked particular feelings and emotions, often through metaphors. This style rejects the technical depictions of realism, and its emotional style remained the primary focus until artists in the 1960s and 70s began to reject it through minimalism, which instead focuses on breaking down the traditional notions of art. Minimalist designs avoid the overarching notions of symbolism and emotion, instead favoring a more simple focus on the materials.

Echoes in Hospital Design 

This struggle between bold designs and modern minimalism is echoed throughout the history of hospital design, which stretches back more than 2500 years. Very early hospitals, from ancient Greece all the way through early modern Europe, were often combined with temples and religious structures. These structures, whose primary focus was to honor deities, were ornately designed and focused heavily on bold artistic features. It wasn’t until the Age of Enlightenment, where medicine converged with modern science, that facilities began to take on a more modern, minimalist look.

As providers began to focus more on the innovation of care, facilities lost their bold artistic approach, and by the time the modern hospital was introduced in the US in the mid 19th century, art was completely abandoned for a simple, minimal design scheme that focused solely on care. 

The Convergence of the Bold and Minimal 

Today, we see a healthy mixture of bold designs and minimalism in healthcare facilities, as designers have embraced both, along with evidence-based design practices, to create facilities that are both boldly designed and functional. Studies have shown that art has a favorable effect on patient satisfaction and comfort, and can even help patients recover more quickly, but there are times when bold designs and art can become a hinderance to care providers, who need a more minimalist design to work efficiently.

Where to Go Bold 

Reception areas, hallways, waiting rooms and other common areas are the place for facilities to showcase their brand, their unique artistic style and any other bold features that designers present. These are the areas that define a hospital’s style, and they are not areas where patient treatment is common. They are also a place for patients to explore and escape from the confines of their room. Saturated colors, murals, curving architecture and intricate patterns can be used to define a space, all while providing a comfortable and uplifting environment for patients and their families.

Where Simplicity is Needed

While facilities are embracing more bold designs in their common areas, simplicity is still needed in patient rooms, where the focus should be on patient care. The curving architecture that can be seen in hallways and reception areas is replaced with geometric squares and rectangles, which make rooms easier to clean and change over between patients. Art is replaced with medical equipment, providing a distraction-free place for providers to care for their patients. Finally, bold colors are substituted for more neutral tones, which make it easier for providers to assess changes in patient skin color

Customizable Whiteboards for Simple or Bold Statements 

Patient room design requires a holistic approach, everything from the color scheme to the furniture and the equipment should come together to provide the best possible treatment and living space for patients. Common areas, on the other hand, can venture into more intricate designs that make bold statements. That’s why VividBoard created a full range of custom dry erase boards that are built specifically based on the specific needs of each facility, no matter where they will be placed. Whether you need complex designs for your whiteboards or something simple, contact VividBoard today.

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