Premium healthcare and access to rehabilitation are growing trends in China. Collectively 'The Clinic' team had spent many years working abroad and more recently had brought their experiences to hospitals in China. Together they wanted to create a new way of doing sports and injury rehabilitation in Shanghai. Not only would their approach to elite sports dictate their approach to managing all patients, but they also wanted to create a clinic that offered an alternative patient experience.
Coming from atypical hospitals with white walls and sterile environments the client was also clear about creating an oasis and sanctuary from a bustling Shanghai. The client wanted to create a revolution in the wellbeing market in China and for this project to work it was clear the space was going to need to be dramatically different to pave the way for a different way of managing patients back to health. The design brief was ultimately to create a natural setting, which in itself was the first touchpoint in the healing process.
Experiencing The Clinic from the patient perspective became a core aspect of the design philosophy of the project. Given the grey and bustle of Shanghai, the immediate choice was to bring the entire material selection back to natural soft elements to create a sense of intimacy, pause, and relaxation. hcreates wanted the patient to feel first and foremost like they were the center, arriving into a boutique lobby as a premium-returning guest and beyond that the feeling of uniqueness. Other elements were set to create serenity and calm. Everything about the design was purposefully selected to make the space practical for treatment but ultimately ensure a patient-centric journey.
The entrance/waiting area is the heart of the overall design. Upon walking in the door people feel instantly welcomed and at home. Many of the elements in the reception area such as the soft leather couches, the bookshelf, carpet, timber flooring, floor lamp and even the plants are staged to give the feeling the patients are entering their own private living room. The unloading of the hustle and bustle of Shanghai is the beginning of the patient's rehabilitation journey.
At the core of The Clinic's potential clientele were active sporty types. In several places elements create a subtle sporting feel to The Clinic by using throwback-sporting equipment as decorative rather than display. Black and white vintage sports photographs adorn the walls. The whitewashed Olympic rings are strapped and hung as a canopy to the reception desk and sculpturally punctuated with pairs of old-fashioned stitched leather boxing gloves.
The layout of The Clinic was also a clever aspect of the design. The Clinic provides holistic care from physical therapy, nutritionists, TCM, psychology etc. To provide continual care it needed Yoga and exercise areas and even a rock-climbing wall. With so many functional areas the layout creates different spaces through creatively using glass as a divider to enable light to flow through the various spaces but also it gives a sense of aspiration so someone at the beginning of their personal recovery journey can see snippets of people in other areas being trained and making progress. The concept of flow is enhanced by the way people are channeled through the space. As patients sequentially move through their appointment from check-in, consultation to prescription they move anticlockwise through the space all the way back to reception so there is limited overlapping and bumping into other people further centralizing the experience on the patient.
Wired opaque glass, framed with black steel is used extensively throughout The Clinic. This enabled light to move through the space from the floor-to-ceiling windows on the south side of the building. The industrial-chic not only created a great aesthetic it also provided the required level of privacy for the different consultation and exercise rooms.
Polished concrete is used on the walls as a smooth texture, which textually compliments and contrasts the natural timber, which is warm and rustic. Both are used for their natural and raw elements that create a constant calmness in the space. Timber is used in several spaces in both flooring and wall covering. It is extensively used in the entrance area and on the reception desk façade. This was a deliberate way of opposing the harsh, energetic noise of the street and daily grind.
Photography: Seth Powers