By Danny Chan
When you make a living from designing and beautifying your client’s smiles, surely you would want your dental surgery to reflect the aesthetic nature of your work. That was what Dr Chris Dimos had in mind when building his new downtown surgery.
Although Dr Dimos had the idea to update the look and feel of his practice about three years ago, he was then too busy developing the “dento-facial aesthetics” side of his practice. Nevertheless, he met up with several prominent dental fit out companies at an ADX dental exhibition. Even at the time, Dr Dimos had set his sights on a possible relocation, hence required a fit out company that had the experience of building a dental surgery from the ground up. The company that clearly stood out was Levitch Design Australia, one of the leading names in specialised healthcare design and construction.
“I’ve heard of Levitch as they had renovated rooms for other dentists and specialists that I know. They were also known in the business for taking a project all the way from site location to pre-design to final construction.”
Although it would be another 3 years before construction work commenced, Dr Dimos was already benefiting from the professional guidance of the LDA team.
“They were there with me before I had even found our new premises, throughout the lease negotiations, design and fit out process and they are still here supporting me 6 months down the track with anything that I need.”
The Practice Principal’s main brief to Levitch Design Australia was to give the new clinic a “spa-feel” that reflects the cosmetic-driven services. Upon realising that Dimos Dental’s address sits on the corner of Collins Street and Queen Street in the Melbourne CBD, namely the Mecca of Australia’s Style Capital, you would be forgiven for thinking the dentist’s goal sounds a tad modest. Yet when you walk into the new surgery for the first time, any notion of a modest fit out quickly evaporates.
Instead, you would be struck by how appropriately the trendy and luxuriant interiors match its hallowed locality. Whether in terms of style, modernity or grandeur, the purpose built clinic radiates all the chic qualities you’d associate with two of the most iconic streets in the character-filled CBD.
Located at level 7 of the 20-storey ICBC building on 379 Collins Street, Dimos Dental is perched high enough to offer its occupants magnificent city views. The pomp and splendour of the streets below and glossy veneer of high-rise neighbours add an interesting vibe to the charming interiors. It is the perfect oasis from which to peek out into the concrete jungle, enjoying its vim and verve from a cosy distance. Here, Levitch designers more than do justice to the clinic’s vantage position – they practically co-opted it.
The waiting area is a classic example. Seated in the leather couch facing a wall-insert plasma TV, with an ottoman and two plush chairs arranged on either side in a squarish, carpeted room, it’s easy to imagine yourself lounging in a 5-star luxury apartment. Relaxing to piped-in soft music under a unique timber-grilled tray ceiling with hidden luminaires, the illusion is complete as you look out of an adjacent window into the sprawling cityscape.
The Hilton-like experience extends into a cosy corner where waiting patrons get to enjoy a fresh brew in a quiet spot, thanks to quality soundproofing that keeps high-pitched whirrs and low rumbles at bay. Modish chairs and a coffee table sit loosely in a circle, zoned by a custom rug that lie flushed level with the solid timber flooring. It is a stylish yet not-too-laidback setting for urbanites to get their caffeine fix.
The front desk area is clearly where the designers took the boldest gambles – that paid off handsomely. The adventurous mix of textures and avant-garde designs could easily have backfired in the hands of less talented individuals. From the faux cracked marble reception console to the fabric feature wall adorned with a back-lit gold plated logo, this typically uneasy ensemble looks surprisingly posh and artsy – nary a whiff of ostentation.
Behind partially frosted glass doors, each room is well appointed with ample space for operators, assistants as well as the patient’s accompanying family members. The high-end clinical equipment are presented differently according to the treatment zone. In the dentist’s rooms, the design is decidedly pared down, with white walls and neutral-coloured fixtures, to accentuate the natural light-filled environment.
Over at the Facial Aesthetics room, a spa-like ambience is created through the combination of dark-coloured cabinetry, walls and mood lighting. Meanwhile, the baby blue chair upholstery teamed with baby pink swivel chair and bright yellow strip lighting brings out the subtle youthful messaging often aligned with facial aesthetic goals.
The five surgeries – two occupied by Dentists; two by Oral Health Therapists and one designated for Facial Aesthetics – are equipped with an array of sophisticated wares. Each of the dentist and OHT rooms are fitted out with Sirona Teneo and Intego Pro chairs, paired with integrated intra-oral cameras and Sirona Heliodent plus digital radiography, in addition to a shared KaVo Diagnocam. The Facial Aesthetics room houses a FOTONA Lightwalker Laser, Hydrafacial Unit, Dermastamp Unit and a VISIA skin and complexion analysis device.
The technology does not end at the surgeries. In an annex room, the portable equipment are neatly arranged to optimise access and storage space. The CEREC cart, diode laser, Zoom Light, Endo Trolley, Ortho Trolley and other dental gear occupy their designated spots without obstructing the workflow or blocking access to neighbouring equipment. As the centrepiece hardware, the Sirona Orthophos SL imbues the hi-tech imagery within generous space reserved for convenient 2D and 3D CBCT imaging services.
More patient convenience, thanks to the provision of single-visit cosmetic restorations, is highlighted by the CEREC MC XL mill and Ivoclar Progromat furnace. The in-house lab also features Scheu ministar vacuum form unit, model trimmer, electric motor and other lab equipment. The plant room houses the Cattani Tandem Turbo-smart suction units and the Cattani AC400Q compressor.
Obviously, the dental-specific knowledge of the builder played a key role in the overall construction and surgery set up, from layout and space utilisation to piping and installation.
“I was surprised at how much knowledge (the LDA building team) had with regards to the actual day-to-day running of a dental practice and the workflow, etc. They had some great ideas that I hadn’t considered,” Dr Dimos remarks.
“We established a great working relationship. Their project management of the job allowed us to complete the project on time in a very tight time frame.”
Faced with unforeseen challenges – some of which were thrown up by the new landlord – the LDA team, with input from Dr Dimos, project managed the construction flawlessly and delivered within just four months. Due to their customer-oriented approach, Dr Dimos was able to develop his business alongside a renovation project that was three years in the making.
“They provided exceptional service even before we had found our new premises. They would come and inspect potential sites with me, offer opinion and even mock-up quick designs to see if the premises fitted with my vision of what we hoped to achieve.”
“Their work ethic is matched only by the actual construction. The final result truly combines great aesthetics with great functionality. I would recommend their services in a heartbeat!”