In the past couple of years we have all witnessed how important the healthcare professionals are, the sacrifices they make and the invaluable services they provide. However, more than often, the spaces they work in are too sterile astatically, rarely have natural light, and make them feel boxed in within the walls of small rooms. Our dentist client had a single quest, “I want to feel it is one large room with lots of natural light and greenery to look at.” Mackenzie Dentistry is our best attempt to give them the least they deserve, a place they enjoy working in.
This dentistry is located at the ground level of a medical office in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. Like many buildings of the 80’s, existing lobby lacks natural light leading to the elevators. The space is also stuck between adjacent units and their angled demising walls. The challenge was to create an open and bright space that would be as hospitable to the visitors as it would be to the staff. In addition, we wanted to expose the visitors of the building passing by to the natural materials and plants in the reception, and add some light to the lobby.
The program called for three operatory rooms, we banked them in the back, where the natural light was abundant, and then with the use of island cabinets in lieu of partition walls, and eliminating doors, we created one large room bringing natural light to inner parts of the office, and some to the reception room through the hallway.
Private spaces, like doctor’s office, staff kitchenette, and washroom are taking darker corners, hiding the angles and kinks of demising walls and making the main rooms square and bright. The glass partition to the sterilization area is an invitation for patients to take a rare look at the mesmerizing behind the scene of medical offices while passing the hallway.
The objective was to make the reception and consultation area as welcoming and exciting as possible, while the actual work spaces in the back enjoy the natural light and openness in a more subtle colour scheme.
We believe there needs to be a fine balance between feeling warm and cozy on one hand and cold, clean and sterile on the other hand in medical offices. The warmth of rich ribbed wood on the reception desk, terracotta of planters, and natural leather of upholstery used for the sitting bench is balanced by the use of “distance blue” paint on millworks, black metal shelf and hardware, and the white natural marble stone on the feature wall, all of them brought together with the use of greenery and natural light. There is also the ever present terrazzo flooring with its natural stone variations that runs throughout the office binding all the components of the material palette.
The curved forms of the island cabinets in the back, are echoed in the curvature of every piece of natural marble on the wall, 1400 of them are individually sorted and installed. It is a nod to the natural beauty of an intact set of teeth, and the effort and craftsmanship it takes to preserve and restore them.
Most finishes are natural, and sometimes unexpected in a medical office, and along with the intentional and designed use of plants and natural light the hope is, for a moment or two, the patients forget the seriousness of their procedure, and for the staff to feel they are valued by the space they work within.