Calming interiors

April 28, 2012

By Arch’t. Karl A.E.F. Cabilao, UAP

Saturday, April 28, 2012

PEOPLE may dismiss a room as just that—a space enclosed by four walls with a door and some random windows. One may call it a straightforward perception of space made devoid of the nitty-gritty of planning and design in the name of economy. But our buildings and spaces should not just be static venues for people’s activities. They should also enhance their mindset about space and how it could help to make them prolific in what they are doing.

There are also times that space must counter the tension and anxiety that might arise from its users due to its nature of use. Hospitals and medical clinics, for example, always entail a very sensitive design approach from architects not only in the planning of its rooms and spaces but also on the influence of important design factors such as building form and interior treatment.

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The calming effect of interiors for the newest dental clinic in the metro, Green Apple Dental at the Garden Level of the Ayala Terraces, was foremost in the mind of its interior designer, Hannah Lim. The trip to the dentist is notorious for engendering fear and anxiety in patients. Credit it to stories of long hours on the dentist’s chair for a tooth bound for extraction or a root canal operation and the scary sound of pearly whites being “drilled” by pointed metallic instruments. All these morbid thoughts will dissipate through a well-conceptualized interior design as exemplified in Green Apple.

The tranquil and clutter-free nature of the color white has always been an effective finish for walls. The white walls of the lobby elude monotony with the carefully placed accents like the aluminum-framed windows and balcony railings, wood cladding, abstract paintings and its earth-toned furniture pieces. Add feel-good piped-in music, and waiting for one’s turn at the dental chair is no longer an agonizing one.

The strict aseptic nature of a dental clinic, replete with all the heavy-looking (at times intimidating) mechanical instruments, was softened by the interior space treatments, like the introduction of monotony-breaking patterns and dramatic lighting (using economically efficient LED lights). Soon, the walls will be enlivened subtly by a few paintings breaking out from a rigid institutional spatial feel.

The ambience of the spaces already speaks of the high standards of the facility toward providing quality service. Green Apple Dental belongs to the 15 medical facilities nationwide chosen by the Philippine Healthcare Initiative (PHI) to pioneer the implementation of international accepted standards under the new Quality Management to improve the Philippine healthcare system.

The facility’s chief executive officer Dr. David Alesna shared his vision of a well-equipped dental hospital. He believes that this clinic, which is in its initial steps toward an ISO certification, is a significant step closer to that dream.

A space meant for human use must not only serve as a mere shelter or a means to seal off some activities from the public eye. One must consider that the users of such space possess feelings which influence the users’ degree of productivity, quality of workmanship and perhaps, self-confidence and peace of mind. Such feelings could be heavily dictated by the vibe which is exhaled by the prudently selected design elements that compose an enclosure. This will eventually leave a more pleasurable imprint of such a room or space on its users.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 29, 2012.

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