How One Health Clinic Uses Interior Design to Instil Wellness

January 5, 2023
Emily Wordsworth

The way we design our interior spaces has a significant influence on our physical and mental well-being. From the colours we use to the furniture we choose, every aspect of our home or office environment can positively or negatively impact our health and mood. As medical service providers increasingly look for ways to improve the patient experience, they’re turning to creative interior design solutions that foster wellness and calm. Here’s how a clinic in Spain took an abandoned building and transformed it into a space for education and health.

Clinica Alejandria is located in Calle Sorní, the heart of Valencia, Spain. It is here that they connect medicine and education, allowing both disciplines to interact more fluidly, dividing each programme into two levels. Working alongside architects, ERRE Arquitectura, they started with the simple idea of characterising the space with curved shapes and rounded surfaces, instantly creating an interior that presents itself with an easy-going aura. Using clay mortar alongside walnut wood, they ensure the clinic feels more down to earth than traditional healthcare facilities, creating a visual sense of touch. All these elements come together to make a clean space that provides room to breathe and where beauty can be admired.

The Impact of Colour in Interior Design

Colour has always been one of the most potent tools in interior design. It can be used to evoke certain emotions, create an atmosphere of relaxation, or energise an entire area. Studies have proven that specific colours can reduce stress and anxiety while promoting healing and well-being. For example, light blue has been shown to lower blood pressure, while yellow is associated with increased optimism and energy. Medical facilities like these are beginning to use colour psychology more frequently by introducing calming neutral tones and shades commonly associated with nature to create reassurance and a more intimate feel.

The entrance and reception of the space are the heart of the project, where geometry, light, warmth from the materials chosen and the greenery of the central patio beckon you to move throughout the space. All these elements help establish a level of comfort and ease for patients while maintaining a much needed level of professionalism. Creating a home-like atmosphere such as this is an act of empathy, it especially speaks to those who have to stay at healthcare facilities for longer periods of time, and quickly become drained by the unending and punishing white walls.

The Benefits of Natural Light

Natural light is essential for both physical and emotional health. Sunlight helps us regulate melatonin production, which is necessary for healthy sleep patterns; it also helps us produce Vitamin D, boosts bone strength and immune system function, and improves overall moods. Introducing natural light into a medical facility creates warmer, inviting spaces that make patients feel welcomed instead of intimidated by their surroundings. Hospitals are beginning to embrace this idea by utilising skylights, larger windows, and sun tunnels in their designs rather than relying solely on artificial lighting sources like fluorescent bulbs.  
Bathed in natural light, Clinica Alejandria invites the outside in quite liberally. A tree sits in a centre courtyard which not only balances the rest of the space, but provides patients a lush centrepiece to focus on during their visit. Wood is naturally calming to the senses and roots us in nature and this theme continues throughout with the use of furniture. Finally, glass sliders were also used to provide much-needed privacy and a degree of flexibility in different situations, without blocking out any natural light.

The Role of Furniture Design

Furniture plays an integral role in any interior design scheme; it not only serves its primary purpose but also adds style and personality to a room and helps set the tone for how people interact with each other. In medical environments, furniture should be designed with comfort in mind so that patients feel relaxed during treatment sessions or consultations rather than feeling intimidated by cold stainless steel equipment or hard plastic chairs; natural materials like wood or fabric upholstery promote feelings of calm while providing ergonomic support at the same time.

It’s clear that interior design is pivotal in promoting physical and mental health—and not just in residential settings! Medical service providers worldwide are beginning to recognise the importance of designing inviting yet functional spaces that put patients at ease during treatments or consultations instead of pushing clinical environments where people feel anxious or uncomfortable. Ultimately, these changes will help create better experiences for everyone involved by fostering feelings of wellness instead of fear or discomfort when entering medical facilities.

"If an aesthetic … makes the people feel good; the patients, the staff and the visitors; [it improves] the healing and work process." - Gene Klow, Architect