Style Clinic

Since its inception, the interior of Dubai Bone and Joint Centre has been heralded as a watershed in healthcare design. Deviating from the accepted model of medical design, which is based on white with accents of soothing blues or greens, this clinic is a mosaic of vibrant colour and unusual materials.

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By  Charlotte Butterfield Published  September 4, 2006

|~|DBJ-Body.gif|~||~|Since its inception, the interior of Dubai Bone and Joint Centre has been heralded as a watershed in healthcare design. Deviating from the accepted model of medical design, which is based on white with accents of soothing blues or greens, this clinic is a mosaic of vibrant colour and unusual materials. The design was a dual project between Dubai-based interior designer Bluehaus, and Italian firm Fantoni. Ben Corrigan, senior design manager/ partner, Bluehaus says: “The whole project was very experimental. The clients wanted something completely futuristic and different — an antithesis to hospital or healthcare design.” He continues, “Suzanne Al Houby, CEO of the centre, visualised the clinic having the feel of a high-end contemporary hotel, which led to the digression from the conventional rules of designing medical centres.” Firstly, the location is unconventional; it is situated high up in Emirates Towers on Sheikh Zayed Road. Corrigan explains: “Many people couldn’t understand why a clinic was being housed on the 50th floor of a tower when most clinics are in villas or more recently in designated ‘cities’ within the city.” The impressive views and reality of being in such a regionally iconic building added to the luxury aspect of the space. Corrigan says: “The Dubai Bone and Joint Clinic is probably our flagship project and we are very aware that it is a unique project. This kind of job rarely comes along, in terms of having such a healthy budget to play with, and the high quality of materials and unusual finishes we were able to specify.” ||**|||~|DBJ-Body-2.gif|~||~|Antonio Cartanese, regional representative for Fantoni group says: “The great thing about this project was the level of attention to detail that was demanded.” Cartenese and freelance designer, Deborah Trombetta, co-ordinated the selection of all the loose furniture and accessories, artworks and colour selection. “We were very fortunate the clients had an understanding of the product for its high level of quality and functionality which enhances the aesthetics of the interior,” Cartanese says. For the lift lobby, Corrigan created an eye-catching display that hints at the individuality of the space beyond. “I wanted the experience to start as soon as the lift doors opened.” Deep pile Bremworth carpet evokes a feeling of luxury while the circular wall adornments suggest modernity and attention to detail. Al Houby comments: “Since DBAJ has invested a lot in research programs based on gene therapy, the genetic and molecular theme was therefore injected into the design.” The wall is created by placing green sandblasted mirrors on a gypsom wall with lights from Acculight placed behind leather-covered circular disks with white stitching. The round shapes can be easily twisted off to change bulbs or for maintenance. The floor is a porous stone carpet sourced through local representatives of European firm, Degussa. The existing raised floor was clad with a layer of plywood, with square trays inbuilt into it. The product was a thick stone liquid consisting of very small pebbles, which was then poured into each tray. ||**|||~|DBJ-Body-3.gif|~||~| To comply with health and safety regulations Corrigan used a glazing resin sealant on top to set the stone carpet and minimise the risk of loose stones. “The floor has an amazing architectural quality,” he says. When set, the effect is that of colourful gravel. Additionally, a key system had to be developed in some of the tiles to allow easy access underneath the floor tiles for essential maintenance work where required. Opting for such unusual surfaces presented numerous challenges. Cartanese explains: “The basic design was all hard surfaces and glazed finishes, therefore acoustics became an issue, so we implemented a slated perforated sound deadening acoustical suspended ceiling which controls the level of echoing, manufactured by Patt-Fantoni and distributed by Duram,” Cartonese says. These suspended acoustic ceilings, walls and glazed partitions by Fantoni are completely demountable, which is an advantage to the design. “The amazing thing, considering the intricacies of this interior, is that this location was supposed to be a temporary home for the clinic until it could move to a permanent home nearby, but none of us approached this project thinking of it as a temporary space, we just couldn’t if we were to produce a fantastic end product,” Corrigan adds. ||**|||~|DBJ-Body-4.gif|~||~| Of course there were additional considerations when designing for the medical sector that differs from the leisure or retail industries. One key aspect was the equipment that needed to be installed. Siemens supplied most of the medical equipment and also acted as consultants. MRI scanning machines, and heavy x-ray equipment had to be taken up to the 50th floor, which in itself was a logistical challenge. Due to the weight of the machinery, the floor had to be reinforced using steel beams running underneath, and the walls had to be panelled with lead to protect against radiation. “If the company wasn’t part of Dubai Holdings I don’t think we’d have been so free to make all these structural changes,” Corrigan admits. The medical specifications were given by the client and a hospital in Al Ain also acted as consultant on some of the healthcare design issues such as the lead lining. In addition to meeting local guidelines, the client also insisted on meeting European and American health and safety guidelines so the specifications were unusually high. The majority of the furniture is by Fantoni. Its sleek contemporary lines appealed to the client. These items were complemented by Moroso soft furnishings in the corridors and reception area. Serralunga pot planters and Nava Design stationery accessories were specified throughout, both of which are available through Duram Architectural & Design Products. ||**|||~|DBJ-Body-5.gif|~||~|Deborah Trombetta also selected the artwork from XVA Art Gallery in Al Bastakia, while the glass beaded wall cladding is by the Australian firm, Diemme. Other specified suppliers were Poltrona Frau who supplied the leather and glass boardroom table; Vitra who manufacture the Charles Eames office and the Verner Panton chairs, and all the timber veneers are by Tabu – s.p.a (distributed through Duram). For such a challenging project the timescale from conception to completion was staggeringly short. Cartonese says: “The whole process was very quick, I met with the client at an event, introduced them to Fantoni and its philosophy, it was exactly what they were after and we introduced Bluehaus to the client. Two weeks later it was on board, and the finished product was ready for the company to move into within 12 weeks of mobilising on site.” “Considering that a lot of the products had to be imported from all around the world: Australia, the UK, Germany, Italy etc. we were very fortunate to be able to complete it in a relatively short time frame,” Corrigan says. Supplier information: Flooring – Degussa Acoustic ceiling panels – Patt-Fantoni through Duram Medical equipment – Siemens Furniture – Fantoni Other furniture items – Poltrona Frau, Vitra Soft furnishings – Muroso Pot planters – Seralunga (Duram) Stationary – Nava Design (Duram) Artwork – XVA Art Gallery Glass bead wall cladding – Diemme Timber Veneers – Tabu s.p.a. (Duram)||**||

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