By Danny Chan
So you just want to update your existing practice using the so-called “modern” template: Light-filled environment, white walls, high gloss melamine cabinets, timber flooring, etc. In other words, the standard “run-of-mill” package contractors pull out as soon as the words “budget constraint” are uttered.
If you’re currently on this generic track, chances are, you would have one of two reactions to this featured renovation: Either dismiss it as being too “pie in the sky” to be of any practical use”, or more likely, be inspired to take a walk on the wildly creative side. A far less likely response is to be indifferent or unimpressed.
From the chiselled charms of the building facade to the cavernous interiors where stylised timber-carpet floorings, fabric walls and bespoke furnishings conjugate in a heady mix of oddly complementary colours, here is the kind of fit out splendour that once beheld cannot be unseen.
The interior design and renovation of Chisholm Orthodontics’ North Adelaide branch – other locations in Mildura, Alice Springs and South Plympton have since opened in quick succession – bears all the creative hallmarks of Levitch Design Australia. With more than 30 years under her belt, designing some of Australia’s most stunning healthcare practices, LDA has developed an inimitable sense of style, evident not just in their cutting edge design but also in bringing the client’s vision to fruition – usually with elements of surprise and aplomb.
Reflecting on Dr Neena Chisholm’s initial brief, we know that one of the main priorities the Specialist Orthodontist had was for the design to convey a “bright, cheery and energetic outlook” within “a relaxing haven for patients and their parents”.
“Our aim,” says the Practice Owner and Specialist Orthodontist, “was to have an easy flow of patients within the four surgeries.”
Interestingly, if you were asked to describe the renovation without any prior knowledge of the brief, you may actually end up using the exact words “bright, cheery and energetic” – or their variants – to capture the essence of the design aesthetics. Such is the close attention LDA pays to a client’s wants, always remaining faithful to the original vision even as it raises the artistic quotient.
Perhaps most clearly depicted in the grand reception cum waiting area, you slowly realise that the colours, fabric patterns and layered flooring were not selected in a vacuum. The tones and hues masterfully feed off each other to create an ensemble effect. Bright colours, for example, look more vibrant when paired with subdued colours, but neither ever crossing into gaudy territory. Each of the hues carefully calibrated to harmonise in a soothing way, yet somehow capturing the desired pizazz.
The palette and pattern choices, not too loud or ostentatious, were necessary to reflect characteristics of a “relaxing haven”. The different tones of fabric walls imbue the element of “softness”, just as the contoured lines of a snaking cushioned bench convey “roundness”. Over at the playroom, lampshades made from cotton-like material, resembling floating clouds, add a layer of wonderment to the kid’s area.
These are all powerful visceral touchstones that depict an environment that is “bright”, “energetic”, “comfortable”, “relaxing”, “fun” and “creative”. Once again, LDA stayed true to the aesthetic goals without straying from the brief.
In terms of layout and space optimisation, LDA had the benefit of a generous 350-sqm floor space. While apportioning the space into 4 surgeries, x-ray room and on-site laboratory, the layout artist made sure to leave room for a spacious walkway that does not simply connect to the different rooms, but dressed to impress even the most jaded customer.
Imagine a corridor wide enough to fit dual lanes of human traffic, packing enough aesthetic features to maintain visual interest throughout. On one side, each available wall panel has been turned into a giant display featuring concentric circles borrowed from the practice logo. On the other side, framed abstract art pieces featuring a bold mix of ink scratches and splotches, reimagine the same circular motif. To complete the avant-garde experience, dangling from high ceilings are modish lights that resemble futuristic drones with light-tipped propeller blades. So eye-catching are these “flying objects” that few travellers along this pathway can resist the temptation to look skywards.
Interesting as the alley artworks are, however, they do not distract from Dr Chisholm’s master plan to provide “an easy flow of patients within the four surgeries”, which the designer more than manages – of course, not forgetting the usual aplomb.
Although the orthodontist acknowledges that LDA’s undeniably premium service and delivery is reflected in their marginally higher costs, she would still absolutely recommend their services “any day”. If that does not say customer satisfaction, what does?
Perhaps you may insist that patient feedback is the true litmus test of a quality renovation. Well then, let’s complete this string of pearls with some positive feedback that Dr Chisholm is happy to summarise:
“We have had a lot of positive feedback about the design of the building, on how good the lighting is and how nice the bright colours are in the dental practice as it makes them feel calm. The staff love the practicality of the practice and how everything just works and flows.”
“As usual (LDA) has delivered an excellent, pleasant practice environment, we enjoy coming to work.”