Levitch Design Australia delivers a winsome “less-clinical” environment for Camberwell practice.
Dental renovations used to be simple and staid affairs. However, the increasing sophistication of patient wants, coupled with advanced delivery of cosmetic services, means that the sterile spaces of the past simply do not cut it anymore. When describing the desired outcomes of a fitout, today’s dental office designers use words like ‘ambience’, ‘warmth’ and ‘mood’ – lexicon originally reserved for characterising the interiors of a 5-star hotel or fine dining restaurant. Of course, modern dentists too envision their working spaces using similar terms, and not least because their patients desire to be treated in comfortable environments.
According to the creative folks at Levitch Design Australia, the same ingenuity, bespoke designs and quality furnishings that mark the haute bourgeoisie establishments may also be borrowed to breath new life into a dental clinic, but it must be done in a way that befits the specific character, workflow and functionality of the practice. In short, you would need a fitout operator with sufficient dental experience to pull it off.
LDA was the first architectural firm to provide professional design services to the dental industry some 25 years ago. Having worked with hundreds of practitioners Australia-wide, the highly experienced and reputable firm has now extended its award-winning design services to offer full construction capability. However, do not confuse their long history and experience with being “old-fashioned”. As fitout designs go, LDA remains firmly at the cutting edge. Their recent work for Hawthorn East Dental, a modern and contemporary suite located on 18 Camberwell Road, shows off the sui generis concepts that LDA is renowned for.
The aesthetic quality of the fitout is immediately apparent as you step through the entrance of the suburban clinic. From the visually arresting front desk to the wooden-stripped feature wall with embedded TV screen at the waiting area, the patient is immediately drawn to the extravagant beauty of the reception area.
Flanking the wooden feature wall are recessed displays, cleverly divided into racks for holding magazines, which along with the television, compete for the customer’s attention. The well-apportioned waiting area is carpeted, as opposed to the panel flooring in the front desk area. Besides adding a softer, “homelier” touch to the cosy corner, the greyish carpet creates a natural zone separation. The partially frosted window panels incorporate the outline of the practice logo to present a consistent primary coloured theme – the brighter hues are used throughout the surgery as accents against the neutral tones.
Lounging at the waiting area with a magazine can momentarily make you forget the nature of the visit. As it turns out, even the amnesic effect was an intentional facet of the design. Asked for his initial vision for the clinic, Dr David Cao, principal dentist and owner of Hawthorn East Dental explains: “We requested for a clean look that combines neutral colours and wooden materials. We wanted our surgery to be more focused on the cosmetics and beauty.” “We wanted the patients to feel relaxed and comfortable, rather than feel like they were inside a clinical environment. It shouldn’t resemble a typical surgery.”
In fact, the primary reason that made Dr Cao check out LDA’s services was their reputation for delivering designs that were “clean and differentiated from others” while also being “less clinical”.
As you venture into the clinical rooms, the dental chair immediately stands out. The industrial yellow cladding and smooth contours of the shiny centrepiece, viewed against the dull white walls and furniture, affords the room much needed vibrancy and character. A glossy bright blue strip of splashback above the L-shaped table further adds to the colour dynamics. The clean and uncluttered look extends into the sterilisation room and staff pantry area. The ample storage space in the steri room is realised through space-saving drawers, shelves and cupboards, all colour-matched to the neutral hues of the instruments and equipment, including a futuristic autoclave unit from Melag. More L-shaped storage furnishings help to optimise the space in the staff pantry, allowing more mingling room while neatly stowing away food and kitchen items. Impressed by what he calls a “turnkey fitout”, Dr Cao says it all came together due to LDA’s great coordination work and indepth discussions at the design and layout stage.
Letting the result speak for itself, Dr Cao compliments the well-coordinated effort that made it possible: “The project was managed very well. Construction was speedy from start to finish – they even worked on weekends and some Sundays. Despite some hiccups along the way, they took the responsibility and fixed the issues so my overall experience was quite good. Throughout the process, I appreciated their constant feedback and communication.”
“I was most pleased with LDA’s use of space and light, their attention to details and overall ergonomics. Given a chance, I would recommend their services as they have good design ideas and work at achieving a good customer service.” Levitch Design Australia can take a fitout project all the way from site and location scouting through lease negotiation, feasibility study, interior and building design to final construction and coordination. They even supply expertise in the area of graphic design and marketing for building brand identity.
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– Australasian Dentist | By Danny Chan