Haldane Martin has designed the interior for a new Innovation Hub at Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH), home of the world’s first human heart transplant.
As part of a broader programme to drive solutions in healthcare service delivery and continue the hospital’s legacy for innovation into the 21st century, the Innovation Hub was conceived of* as a space to enable hospital staff to make a difference through innovation.
Designed to inspire action and constructive work, breaking the mould of a “think tank”, the Haldane Martin design team developed the concept of a maker’s workshop. The interior conveys the idea of putting on hard hats and big boots, rolling up sleeves and getting hands dirty.
The brief required potential for scaling and roll-out throughout Africa, while accounting for future reuse or decommission. Working with a tight budget and the constraints of the existing structure, carpeting, ceiling and lighting, the design studio came up with a practical creative solution that optimises decorative and furnishing elements to create a versatile workspace. Both formal spaces for presentations and seminars are necessary as well as informal spaces for social engagement.
The colour scheme uses green associated with healthcare – but on steroids in an energetic, contemporary dayglo shade. A chevron motif sparks the idea of work in progress. Pallets and packing crates form the basis for furniture. Raw, unfinished pine makes both a cost-effective material and reinforces the concept of a workshop.
Tables and chairs are made flexible for use either sitting or in the trend of standing and working, and in various arrangements for spontaneous collaboration, by being height-adjustable and fitted onto castors. Functional furnishings include whiteboards for jotting down ideas and table surfaces with writable tops to encourage brainstorming. A boardroom table facilitates meetings with a paper roll mounted on one end to allow a flow of ideas to be recorded onto the paper as it is pulled across the glass table surface. A crate couch and desk setup allows solo work. Workshop tables enable group work.
Final elements include exposed mechanical threads one would find in a workshop. Proactive quotes are stencilled onto surfaces to motivate and energise hospital staff, giving the space an upbeat and modern character that retains the rawness of the design concept.
Relevant to its context of a public African hospital, the interior avoids being too institutional, corporate or opulent.
The final Innovation Hub is a transformation into an innovative and contemporary work environment fit to host healthcare workers on the frontline of an essential service in critical need of a redesign.
*in partnership with the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship at UCT Graduate School of Business and the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences
Photos by Micky Hoyle
UCT Faculty of Health Sciences