Case study: Goddard Littlefair designs healthcare clinic for ‘One Stop Doctors’
Interior design studio Goddard Littlefair has completed the design of a health and wellness clinic for One Stop Doctors. The clinic is set within a two-storey purpose-built building and is a light-filled, airy space, arranged around an open, central courtyard.
The interior layout, look and feel were all created as part of an intense consultation process between Goddard Littlefair and One Stop Doctors, aimed at creating a highly-differentiated leader brand within this marketplace for the first of a planned series of eight clinics to be located around the M25 corridor area.
‘We began the project by researching the private sector healthcare market in terms of look and feel’, Goddard Littlefair director and co-founder Martin Goddard explained. ‘We found that most clinics so far had followed the American model, with a very cool and clinical treatment throughout. Our emphasis was different – for patients to experience a much higher level of design values, maximising the contribution of the environment towards promoting a sense of well-being and creating confidence in the clinical excellence they will experience.’
The One Stop Doctors experience begins outside the clinic, where patients get their first impression of the new offer. Clean lines of planting and structure ensure the approach to the main entrance is effortless and full of interest, with arrival framed by a row of silver birch trees, creating a rhythm along the length of the site, with the trees lit at night to soften the profile of the building and clipped hedges of variegated holly set between to add texture.
The colour palette is also warm, with natural, darker colours. Semi-private areas beyond such as waiting areas or corridors feature a natural palette with softer colours, whilst the private areas – the consultation, treatment, dentistry and scanning rooms – have a lighter palette still. This series of colour transitions subliminally signals the patient’s movement from the welcome of arrival to a cooler feel for consultation and cooler feel still for clinical treatments.
Flooring and shaping create an instinctive journey through the lobby space, with cream porcelain tiling for the main circulation areas, demarcated with a slightly darker porcelain tile ‘skirt’ and darker, timber-effect flooring to either side. Later in the scheme, for the corridor flooring, a different treatment is introduced, with cream porcelain tiling used for the outer edges and a pale grey, slate-effect tile laid in rectangular zoned areas, demarcating decision points.
The introduction of a clinic concierge was key to the new approach of how patients are treated and one of the main points of difference from the competition. The concierge point is both informal and informative, making the check-in process quicker and more intuitive and is set within an ellipse-shaped area, reflected in the ceiling raft, which also features a series of feature LED lights in interlinking ovals. Timber-effect grey screens with an open, geometric design partly encircle the space, with the same material used throughout the scheme for all joinery.
The concierge station features an antiqued, pitted bronze patina front, with random areas of shading, a treatment also used for the reception desk beyond to the right, where patients make further appointments and settle accounts. A 3D wave-effect wall treatment along the right-hand wall adds interest and underlines the bespoke, interesting and non-institutional feel of the space.
The courtyard space is immediately visible through the glass to the left of the lobby area and is the breathing heart of the clinic, offering private space for contemplation or for those accompanying patients on their appointments. The design here is controlled, with clean lines following through the lines of the building itself.
The view from one side to the other from the corridors is shielded and softened by landscaping, protecting the semi-private status of those in transit or taking a moment in the garden.
The outside edge is heavily planted and lit, creating immediate focus in front of the windows, which is especially important in winter or in the evening, when glazing can risk turning into dark, cold mirrored surfaces without anything to focus on outside.
‘Art’s ability to communicate and transport people’s thoughts and emotions plays a major and proven role in healthcare and we were very aware of that in our commissions for the space’, explained Martin Goddard.
The curated art here includes bespoke pieces and sculptures sourced to fit the particular brief for the space, with additional works by local artist Cecilie Enos. Natural shapes and textures ensure that the art is integrated into the design and not just an add-on.
Furniture throughout is bespoke, which is a Goddard Littlefair design signature element and takes form in a range of high-end materials, including velvet, linen, leather and suede in a spectrum of browns, mushrooms, slates, taupes, blues, purples and greys.
Lighting was also a very important part of the mix, creating features with natural and artificial light. Reflected and diffuse light help break away from typical down-lit spaces and create moments of drama and art.
The journey through the clinic is intended to be as intuitive as possible, especially for the circulation spaces, making the routes clear and without the need for assistance or the excessive wayfinding sometimes found in other facilities. Portal moments at each of the main decision points and entries to different areas clearly define transition areas.
In the consultation rooms, the experience is professional but welcoming, maintaining the consultant and patient relationship, whilst putting both at ease.
Warm light colours, an ergonomic, curved desk and a choice of both formal and informal seating creates a change in the way the patient is addressed. A residential tone is struck by the use of timber floors, wall coverings, soft furnishing and decorative task lighting, whilst the clinical and scientific nature of the experience is also preserved. Display bookcases allow for literature relevant to patient needs to be easily to hand.