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Colour from artworks creates non-clinical effect to hospital renovations

Bright colours from artworks in the hospital create a warm non-clinical atmosphere in the refurbishment and redevelopment of St Vincents, Brisbane, formerly Mt Olivet Hospital.

‘Our overall design was to create a hospital that did not feel clinical, and we utilised the bright colours from the palette of John Coburn’s artworks to achieve this,” said Peddle Thorpe Interior Designer Alarna Cotton.

Mt Olivet Hospital was built in 1957 by the Catholic Sisters of Charity. By the mid-1990s it had about 300 beds and provided palliative care services, rehabilitation services, and a separate retirement home.

In 2008, Mt Olivet Hospital changed its name to St Vincents, Brisbane and the multi-million dollar redevelopment of the entire Mt Olivet site began, with architectural design by Peddle Thorpe.

Remodelling started on Levels 1 and 2. “Colour was brought to each level of the hospital to create a way finding tool and to permit health and wellbeing for the elderly patents,” Ms Cotton explained.

The floor surfaces chosen were to complement these bright colours, as well as to provide appropriate surfaces for each specific area.

Levels 1 and 2 corridors and general areas were given vinyl flooring, and “as this was such a large area, we required a vinyl flooring that would bring warmth to the design. We chose the Polyflor Forest Fx product to achieve this,” she said.

The Forest FX product in the corridors, general areas, physiotherapy/gymnasium and occupational therapy area is American Oak, to suggest a more welcoming ‘day spa’ feel than a clinical hospital one,” Ms Cotton explained. Despite this, it can take the hard wear of trolleys, exercise equipment and feet, day in and day out.

Polyflor’s Forest FX collection contains sheet format floor coverings from authentic reproductions of popular wood designs. The heterogeneous vinyl sheet was specifically developed for very heavy commercial installations, and features a polyurethane reinforcement for easy cleaning and maintenance.

In the ward rooms (bedrooms) – mostly single rooms with ensuite bathrooms – Forest FX is again used, this time in European Oak, to achieve “a relaxed, open and fresh appearance”.

Ensuite bathrooms need slip resistant flooring to prevent elderly patients falling and injuring themselves. Ms Cotton selected Polyflor Corona in the Drystone colourway. The contrast in colour provides a clear way finding signal to the bathroom for the patient who might be a little confused.

Corona was chosen for its high slip resistant qualities in a surface designed specifically for healthcare facilities. Drystone’s mottled effect in white, blue and orange sparkles with the quartz crystals, aluminium oxide and silicon carbide particles incorporated throughout the full thickness of the vinyl to improve traction and safety underfoot.

Wards and bathrooms on level 3, (not yet completed) will have the same floor finishes.

For visitors, staff and ambulant patients, St Vincents Brisbane has a coffee shop on the Ground floor. Once again, a highly slip resistant flooring is required for the kitchen area.

Polysafe Mosaic vinyl fills the bill, as it has an R10 slip resistance rating. The soft mottled greys and whites of the Grey Fusion colourway sparkle with quartz crystals, aluminium oxide and silicon carbide particles.

To complement this floor and to provide an easy to clean and maintain surface in the main café area, a soft matt grey effect, Fog, in Design Fx sheet vinyl was chosen.

“The coffee shop needed to be an area where patients, family and staff could relax, talk and take a break. The floor needed to be different from all other finishes, so that it did not resemble or have a connection with any other areas in the hospital,” Ms Cotton said.

“We utilised the Design Fx for the main body floor finish with margins of the Mosaic, which also differentiated between the different slip resistance required.”

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