Academic Medical Center
The Emergency Room of the AMC in Amsterdam needed a complete renovation. The goal was to become one of Europe’s best care centres. The AMC wanted to create an environment that exudes a feeling of peace, well-being and comfort but also one that encourages exemplary behaviour. After having published a European call for tender, the AMC awarded Gispen the job of furnishing the medical centre.
The AMC in Amsterdam is one of the larger academic centres in the Netherlands where specialised medical care is provided. At the Emergency Room, they treat and hospitalise the severely wounded- and sick, but they also tend to patients with less serious injuries and discomforts. The patients and their family members who come into the Emergency Room are taken out of their comfort zones. They are often in pain, are frightened or feel insecure or have to wait for examinations and test results. In those circumstances it is comforting to be in a so-called healing environment. An environment that puts you at ease, exudes a feeling of peace and offers some much needed distraction.
Matthijs Elsing, Business Manager Care at Gispen: ‘The AMC gave us the task to realise a furnishing that contributes to the healing and well-being of the patients in a natural way. In my opinion, this is something that the AMC specialises in. The new Emergency Room is the first in the Netherlands to give that much consideration to the way its environment influences the people that are present there. They dare to put the patient first within the complex processes of urgent care. This all meant that our team, including our own interior architect Nelleke Lagerwerf, was presented with a great challenge to create an environment that radiates positivity. An environment where people can be treated with great efficiency, but also an environment where they feel safe and appreciated.’
Some peace and quiet, real plants and distraction
Gispen furnished a number of lobbies (waiting areas): the reception, the Emergency Room lobby and the lobby of the Walk-in Clinic. We also furnished two family rooms, which are multi-functional rooms where a private conversation can be held or where relatives of the deceased can be taken care of. We installed seating solutions at the various registration desks, created a coffee corner and supplied the office furniture. Our designs were based on patient logistics. How do they come in? Where do they need to register? What kind of experience do we want to give them while waiting? Some peace and quiet, real plants and distraction in the form of art and interactive TV are all included in the final result.
Some peace and quiet, real plants and distraction
The architect’s thoughts
‘The foundation was laid together with the client: the concept of a lobby and a layout of three different zones. In a joint effort between us, Gispen, the client and the end users we took this foundation and further developed it into shapes and materials. We worked as a tight-knit design team, as equals. I would call our partnership pleasant and professional. Gispen’s suggestions were both helpful and constructive.’
Three different zones
It was clear that the architect’s design concept included three different zones with different atmospheres: an active zone where visitors can work, talk or drink coffee, a relax-zone where one can unqwind and read a little and a quiet zone for those who need some peace and quiet. Gispen furnished the zones in a matching style to that of the architect’s vision. The colour scheme includes warm and natural colours: many shades of brown, green and beige. The furniture is characterised by its friendly and round shapes. Casala armchairs provide the desired comfort. The high-quality Havee sofas can handle the large flow of visitors. The lighting matches the atmosphere of the three zones.
Nelleke Lagerwerf, Gispen interior architect: ‘What I thought was special was that we were given the specific task to give the waiting areas (lobbies) of the AMC a classy look. We are used to being asked to make a room ‘idiot-proof’, for instance. But AMC’s request was something entirely different: create something special, an environment that encourages people to be at their best behaviour. Mimic the effect a classy hotel lobby would have on people.’
Some highlights: the custom-made waiting benches in the lobby, with purpose-built children’s tables in between. The custom-made reading tables by Gispen. A magazine rack of the same material as the reading tables, which was incorporated into a coffee machine cabinet. Or the adhesive foil with a carpet-like print on it, which does a good job of creating an imaginary line between the waiting area and the rest of the zone. Hygiene is important; the foil complies with hygienic standards, while the print still provides that homely feeling.
The new Emergency Room was officially opened in October 2016. Approximately 30,000 patients, with on average one companion, are treated here on a yearly basis.
Photography: Chris van Koeverden
The client’s thoughts
‘The fully renovated Emergency Room is now three times the size as it was before. I could not be happier with the result; it has a warm and welcoming atmosphere. This is what we hear from our patients as well, who don’t feel as if they are in a hospital. I was also delighted with the personal contact I had with my contacts Matthijs and Nelleke. They really complemented each other and, when the project was in full swing, we got together on a weekly basis. It was noticeable that they had much experience in healthcare.’