The Role of Interior Design and Art

Posted 16 October 2015 1:53 PM by TCAuthor3

Decades of good quality research have proven that the atmosphere in which a patient receives health care can meaningfully affect his or her spirits and feelings of anxiety, peace and security.  When people feel safe and calm, they heal better and more quickly. This truth guided decisions about how to design, decorate and even orchestrate the new ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano.

There’s a term that’s used to describe how the new Shawano hospital was designed— a “hilly environment.” However, there are no hills to climb or trails to break. Instead, patients and their families will encounter soothing colors and pleasant, calming diversions, kind of like discovering a pleasant new view as you come to the crest of a gentle hill. Elements such as color, artwork, building materials and natural sunlight peacefully engage the senses.

The selection of artwork for TCMC-Shawano was guided by Karen Hertz-Sumnicht, an experienced art consultant with Avenue Art & Co, along with an interested team. A list of criteria for making art selections was developed very early in the process, and it included words like journey, gratitude, peace, inspired by nature, and encompassing of diversity

Hundreds more community members responded to surveys or attended input meetings to help craft the interior design theme for our new hospital. It’s interesting to even call it interior design, because one of the strongest priorities— across all ages, genders and cultural backgrounds — was the importance of bringing the outside in. People asked for big windows, natural sunlight and building materials of natural wood and stone. Patient rooms have panoramic views of the outdoors. Public hallways are lit by natural sunlight and signs clearly direct people to their destinations within the building. Walkways and patient rooms are acoustically designed to limit bothersome noise. Wood and stone are integrated into shared spaces.

Community conversations helped to craft a healing environment that tells a lot about the people of Shawano—authentic, in touch with their roots, and committed to restoring one another to good spirits and good health. Nature —and nurturing— heals.