Tag Archives: Hospitality

10 Questions With… Matteo Thun

Cala Beach Club at Hotel Cala di Volpe in Porto Cervo on Sardinia. Photography courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

A holistic approach to nature and wellness drives Matteo Thun’s built projects. The award-winning Italian architect and Interior Design Hall of Fame member co-founded the iconic Italian design and architecture collective the Memphis Group with Ettore Sottsass in 1981, before striking out on his own, forming Matteo Thun & Partners in 2001. Thun’s happiest designing something new, he admits, and his firm’s creative eye, honed out of a headquarters in Milan and an office in Shanghai, is behind a long list of high-profile hospitality and healthcare projects spanning the globe.

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Most recently, summer saw the reassembly of Thun’s temporary beach structure, Cala Beach Club on the breathtaking Emerald Coast of the Italian island of Sardinia. Situated at Hotel Cala di Volpe in Costa Smeralda, a playground for the rich and, at times, famous—many of them yachting enthusiasts—Cala Beach Club is an environmentally sensitive structure only accessible by foot or boat. In summer it hums with private parties, with clientele seduced by the stunning natural landscape. Interior Design sat down with Thun to hear more about the Cala Beach Club, what toy kicked off his imagination at a young age, and which project reachable solely by cable car he considers a career turning point.

Interior Design: What was your overall design goal for Cala Beach Club?

Matteo Thun: Cala di Volpe is a beautiful beach in Sardinia. We wanted to create a shady oasis just between the woods and the sea. Restaurant, bar, and treatment rooms have been designed to melt within the landscape, to respect the charm of this special place.

ID: What was particularly challenging about this project?

MT: This property is reachable only by boat or on a path through nature. Since it serves only for the season, we designed a removable structure that is easily to assemble and dismantle.

Cala Beach Club at Hotel Cala di Volpe in Porto Cervo on Sardinia. Photography courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

ID: What materials did you use and why?

MT: The structure unites with the beach vegetation, terraces value the inclination of the land, and views are open to the sea. We only used natural materials that integrate with the surroundings, such as chestnut wood and bamboo. All colors are natural and warm.

ID: What else have you completed recently?

MT: We like to bring nature inside and believe in concepts that emphasize an overall healthy lifestyle as a main approach. Healthy architecture and interior design guarantees physical and mental well being, allowing a relationship between humans and the environment. In Obbürgen, Switzerland, the Waldhotel at Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort, which opened at the end of last year, is a space for wellness and medical services. It’s made from local stone and wood, and nature will take over in a few years so that the building will melt with the mountain. As with most of our projects, we also designed the entire interior.

Another recent project is the new headquarters for Davines, an Italian beauty company dedicated to sustainability and based in Parma, Italy. Here, we grouped traditional rural shapes and innovative volumes around a greenhouse that serves as a restaurant for the employees. Maximum architectural transparency with a minimum amount of masonry elements provides every working station with a view of the green areas.

The Waldhotel at Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort in Obbürgen, Switzerland by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Andrea Garuti, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

ID: What’s upcoming for you?

MT: The Evangelisches Waldkrankenhaus Spandau in Berlin at the largest university orthopedic center in Europe. Waldkrankenhaus means ‘hospital in the forest’ in German, and the new hospital building and rehab building connected to it will transform the hospital campus into a health center with a hotel character. This project represents our idea of a healing environment, an architectural and organizational structure that helps the patient and his relatives endure stressful situations caused by illness, operations, treatments, and sometimes pain.

Another hospitality project, a health bathing spa with medical treatments and maximum comfort, is underway in Bavaria, at Tegernsee, a resort town on the banks of Germany’s Tegernsee Lake. Nature is also the point of departure here and was key to the project. The landscape design integrates the existing flora and references the natural presence of water, allowing a direct communication with nature without interfering with the privacy of the patients.

The Evangelisches Waldkrankenhaus Spandau in Berlin by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

ID: Is there a project in your history that you feel was particularly significant to your career?

MT: I designed the Vigilius Mountain Resort in South Tirol more than 15 years ago. It was one of the first design hotels, made from local larch wood and reachable only by cable car. The owner and I shared the same vision: to create a hotel that fuses with its surroundings, a place where you can breathe and relax instantly. Now, after all these years, the wood has a beautiful patina and the hotel a constant influx of international clientele.

ID: What are you reading?

MT: I very much like to read books in parallel: such as German philosopher Martin Heidegger with a novel or short story by Italian journalist and writer Italo Calvino

The Vigilius Mountain Resort by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Serge Brison, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

ID: How do you think your childhood influenced your design thinking?

MT: My parents took me regularly to the Venice Biennale, so I became familiar with art and architecture at quite a young age. I grew up in nature, in the mountains near Bolzano, Italy, where my mother worked with pottery. She gave me clay to play with—so I had to use my imagination to have fun with it. I was always very close to material and materiality.

ID: How do think the Italian design culture influences your overall approach?

MT: In Italy, architecture is approached holistically. Let me quote Italian architect and writer Ernesto Rogers: ‘From spoon to city.’ This means working on a chair, on a lighting product, and on a house at the same time. We’ve worked like this in my office since the beginning, and the different teams of architects, interior designers, and product designers perform across disciplines.

Another big strength is Italian craftsmanship. At Salone del Mobile 2019, we launched a wood chair collection produced by F.lli Levaggi, a small manufacturer in Liguria, Italy, and work regularly with the glassblowers from Murano, such as Venini, Barovier & Toso, and Seguso. We very much believe in ‘Made in Italy.’

The Vigilius Mountain Resort by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Vigilius Mountain Resort, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

ID: Is there a person in the industry that you particularly admire?

MT: Ettore Sottsass, chief designer of Olivetti. I first worked for him as an assistant, then we formed Sottsass Associati and in 1981 we co-founded Italian design and architecture collective Memphis Group. Memphis had an important formative influence on my career, and provided a platform to experiment with the challenges of constant innovation. Ettore designed the first Italian computer—in the late 1950s.

Keep scrolling for more images of projects by Matteo Thun >

The Vigilius Mountain Resort by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Florian Andergassen, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.
The Waldhotel at Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort in Obbürgen, Switzerland by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Andrea Garuti, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.
The alpine suite at the Waldhotel at Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort in Obbürgen, Switzerland by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Waldhotel, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.
The pool at the Waldhotel at Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort in Obbürgen, Switzerland by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Waldhotel, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners
The Davines headquarters in Parma, Italy by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Andrea Garuti, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.
The Nudes seating collection by Matteo Thun, launched at Salone del Mobile 2019. Photography by Marco Bertolini, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

Read more: 10 Questions With… Gert Wingardh

Continue reading 10 Questions With… Matteo Thun


ASID Events

HD Expo


More than 12,500 of hospitality’s most influential designers, developers, purchasing firms, and ownership groups attend HD Expo to gain an unmatched level of education, inspiration, and exposure to innovative and original products.


8:00 AM
5/15/2019 – 5/17/2019


Mandalay Bay Convention Center
3950 S. Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89119
United States



A true experience for the senses, HD Expo will take your professional development to the next level through game-changing networking, innovative ideas, inspiration, and the knowledge you will gain from world-class presenters. You’ll leave HD Expo with the inspiration, connections, and tools you need for success.

Bringing the pages of Hospitality Design magazine to life, HD Expo’s robust roster of CEU-accredited conference sessions offers a fresh and powerful learning perspective. Hear from a who’s who of the industry—veterans, innovators, and up-and-coming stars—as they share their personal journeys, expertise, and case studies to start important conversations across all career levels.

Specialized networking events enhance the conference experience and provide opportunities to connect with industry peers.

ASID members receive a free expo only pass (a $99 value) with promo code ASID.


  • The HD/ISHP Owners’ Roundtable brings attendees face-to-face with developers, brand executives, and decision makers who represent the most significant brand and ownership groups in the world
  • Experience visionary keynote speakers who have made a true mark on the industry
  • Gain knowledge through accredited CEU/LU education sessions


ASID is thrilled to showcase the impact of design at HD Expo through an exciting new installation custom designed by Elizabeth von Lehe, Allied ASID, design and brand strategy principal, HDR. The space serves as an oasis that invites visitors to engage, ask broad questions, and explore the beautiful, impactful, and sometimes surprising ways that design impacts lives.


The ASID DESIGN IMPACT Awards recognize innovative products that put people and the environment at the center of design intent. Winning products will be featured by exhibitors at HD Expo.



Date: Thursday, May 16, 2019, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Speaker: Deborah Burnett, Principal, Benya Burnett Consultancy

Guest room lighting specifications have a significant impact on sleep quality and next day productivity, mood, and behavior. Presented from a design perspective, easily absorb the biology as to why ambient light plays a critical role in delivering a GREAT night’s sleep and contributes to an enhanced WELLNESS experience.       

Deborah Burnett, ASID, CMG, LGC, AASM, is an international award-winning registered interior designer, a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in the field of light and health, and a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. She is an active member of the IES and CIE Committees in photobiology, human health, and aging. A recent project, the ASID HQ in Washington, D.C., is the world’s first interior space to receive double Platinum level recognition in both the LEED v3 and WELL v1 certification programs. In part, this designation is the result of Deborah’s efforts in developing new professional practice benchmarks ensuring occupant biological protection consistent with American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines regarding the use of short wavelength-rich white light, a typical characteristic of LED light sources.


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Hospitality Project Designer

Apply Now

DescriptionHospitality Project Designer

DoveHill Capital Management, LLC is seeking a hospitality project designer with an emphasis on styling, accessorizing and display to join our fast paced, high energy and innovative design team. The candidate will provide support to the senior design team and will have the opportunity to work on all phases of the design process from concept development to hotel openings. We are looking for a creative and dedicated, detail oriented and self-motivated individual who possesses great artistic style, a keen eye for balanced composition, scale and proportion, passion and loves to learn, grow, and contribute to exceptional environments.
Responsibilities Include

  • Oversee existing hotel corporate design/creative service needs and requests 
  • Overseeing and implementing on-property holiday décor, pop-ups and other special initiatives 
  • Assist with on property photoshoots 
  • Assist with visual merchandizing for branded retail outlets 
  • Assist with developing and maintaining property styling look books. 
  • Developing presentations that include mood boards, FFE/OSE styling ideas, material palettes, etc. 
  • Support the development of FFE and accessory budgets, schedules and templates 
  • Select material, accessory and furniture specifications 
  • Obtaining and managing samples and relationships with vendors 
  • Researching and obtaining quotes from various vendors and following up on approvals 
  • Effectively manage multiple projects concurrently and prioritize tasks and projects within the design team. 
  • Supporting the senior design team as needed and directed 
  • 5 years plus of professional experience in interior and/or visual merchandising. Hospitality experience preferred but not required. 
  • Must be a team player with excellent written and verbal communication skills 
  • Proficient in Photoshop, InDesign, Sketchup and Microsoft office. Autocada plus 
  • Minimum BA in Interior Design, visual merchandizing, Environmental Design or Architecture 
  • Must have legal authorization to work in the US 
  • Hand sketching skills a plus. 

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Our team shares a passion for unique, sophisticated design. We work tirelessly to transform ordinary spaces into exciting new adventures and experiences that deliver exceptional quality and quiet elegance. This position is an excellent opportunity for candidates seeking professional growth into a future project management, design or architectural leadership role.

This is a full-time position located in Fort Lauderdale, FL with a requirement for travel. If you feel you possess the above abilities, please forward your resume, sample portfolio, and compensation requirements to: click apply

DoveHill Capital Management, LLC, a vertically integrated owner, operator and developer of Hyatt, Starwood and Hilton hotels in the Philadelphia area as well as California and South Florida. Leveraging its marketing, design, operational and technological expertise, DoveHill Capital Management, LLC is the force behind some of the most groundbreaking, award-winning and dynamic new hotel brands in the world.

Job Information

  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
  • 47357502
  • March 18, 2019
  • Hospitality Project Designer
  • DoveHill Capital Management, LLC
  • Hospitality Design
  • No
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posted on 05/07/2018 By Kadie Yale

While not overwhelming, particular palm motifs consistently poked their head out from around booths during this year’s HD Expo, mirroring the notifications we receive in the form of press releases: palm fronds, abstracted and repeating, have continued to be used in the industry, particularly in the hospitality market.

Updated to match current trends, the use of palms has a very direct relation to the historic use of pineapples in American design. But why does the now-somewhat-kitschy use of pineapples and other lush tropical vegetation continue to be prevalent in American design, and what does it mean for contemporary interiors?

Interestingly, pineapples are one of the design staples brought over to the colonies from England. The fruit is said to have been brought back to Europe during Christopher Columbus’ second voyage, and its many versions–from candied to jam–became a must-have in the upper echelons of society. However, access to raw and unprocessed pineapple was a luxury even those at the top of the class structure could hardly get ahold of.

Transporting the fruit in time meant it had to be shipped on the quickest boats in the fleet, and few were able to make it before turning. Therefore, it became a status symbol to be able to have the fresh fruit. Even King Charles II commissioned a portrait with a pineapple in-hand. While transportation became easier along the North American seaboard as the colonies expanded, pineapples were still a costly commodity; they quickly became a preferred high-society hostess gift, thereby cementing its on-going legacy as a symbol of hospitality.

While pineapple motifs are still used, they somewhat lost their luster in the mid-20th century when technology and materiality allowed them to be incorporated into the growing middle class through goods like wallpaper and clothing textiles. The fruit took off in popular culture, due heavily to Hawai’i becoming a state on August 21, 1959. In the same ways that America saw Egyptian motifs in the 1920s after the discovery of King Tut or Japanese-influenced design in the mid-19th century, the welcoming of Hawai’i to the United States became exoticized.


Today, information can be easily found on the history of pineapple motifs in interior design, but for the most part, their use has continued more often because of the mid-20th-century inspiration. Ask an interior designer why they’ve chosen to use tropical foliage or a manufacturer why it’s entered their line, and the answers are typically in response to the fun aesthetic and relaxing aura pineapple and palms give off.

It’s an easy connection to say that pineapple icons evolved into the use of other tropical plants in decor, but I believe we can take it one step further to interweave the current importance of health and wellness into the reemergence of tropical prints.

As clients and end-users become more familiar with biomimicry and biophilic design, interior designers are searching for ways to bring nature indoors. With nature-inspired design on the rise, florals were reintroduced into interiors, but while pineapples mostly harken back to images of a 50’s father in a Hawaiian t-shirt next to the grill in a newly-developed suburb, florals have a tradition of easily crossing the line into appearing matronly (most likely due to gender bias, but that topic deserves its own article). Companies such as Tarkett have been able to release floral products in recent years, but they come alongside more abstracted designs to tone down the flower patterns.


Working with flowers, and working with flowers well is a special skill few possess.

Tropical motifs, however, haven’t had the same type of gender bias that flowers have. The historical tie-in to hospitality may not be as direct as it was in the past, but the image of palms, pineapples, and birds of paradise still inspire the feeling of luxury, relaxation, and getting away from it all. Eliciting these emotions while also pulling in biophilic design principals packages the whole aesthetic into the perfect “Wish you were here!” statement.

Two notable instances during the HD Expo show were the use of more mid-century design and repeat by Innovations, and an abstracted block-print-like design by Fil Doux. In particular, these two examples show the main ways in which interior designers are using tropical greenery: in traditional, realistic ways (Innovations), or by breaking down the pattern to only its geometric elements (Fil Doux).

Designers can expect to continue to see pineapples, palms, and more tropically-integrated products in the coming years. While they may not take center-stage or be the highlight of the collection, they will continue to emerge.

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Trending: 5 Marijuana Dispensaries Tap Into High Design

PROJECT NAME 5 Marijuana Dispensaries Tap Into High Design
FIRM The High Road Design Studio; Johnson Squared Architecture; SemiGood Design; Bruce Hampton; RPG; Tanagram Design; The McBride Company

The merging of design sectors is nothing new—in recent years we’ve seen hospitality approach residential, healthcare increasingly resemble hospitality, and retail claw its way towards art. But as legalized marijuana begins to sweep the U.S., an emerging design niche combines healthcare, retail, and hospitality for a new strain of interiors that, if you didn’t recognize their wares, could just as easily be mistaken for a luxe hair salon or a trendy coffee shop.

Speaking to this convergence, the following five projects are a timely reminder of how great design continues to shape human thinking and experience. Says Megan Stone, owner of The High Road Design Studio, “Design can be a powerful tool in changing negative perceptions of cannabis and elevating the value these businesses can add to a community. As a result, a more sustainable and profitable business is possible.”

“The industry needs to provide a sales experience that reflects the evolving perception of marijuana,” explains Pat McBride, CEO, The McBride Company. “The store design and atmosphere we created offers consumers a space that incorporates all the elements of great retail design, but addresses the unique display and service challenges faced by the cannabis retail industry.” Read on to see how designers are bringing a long stigmatized business into the design fold, often with reclaimed wood, industrial lighting, and natural stone (no pun intended).

Park Range Recreationals by The High Road Design Studio. Photography by Proven Media.

1. Firm: The High Road Design Studio

Project: Park Range Recreationals

Location: Oak Creek, Colorado. 

Standout: Forging a positive connection to the community was goal one for retail designer Megan Stone, who owns the very first design firm we’ve seen to specialize in cannabis retail design. Park Range Recreationals combines polished interiors with references to Oak Creek’s history: 14-foot-high ceilings in custom plaid are a nod to the local hunting scene, while beetle kill pine and hickory floors reference the area’s forestry. The 500-square-foot space maintains a sense of openness thanks to storage carefully concealed behind wooden paneling and an arsenal of stainless-steel canisters reminiscent of old-world apothecaries. A steel library ladder adds to the inviting atmosphere worthy of its coveted Main Street location.

Paper & Leaf by Johnson Squared Architecture and Semigood Design. Photography by Mindy Capps.

2. Firms: Johnson Squared Architecture; Semigood Design

Project: Paper & Leaf. 

Location: Bainbridge Island, Washington State. 

Standout: Paper & Leaf opened its doors last summer to embody the distinct vision co-owners Brendan Hill and Steven Kessler: a high-end art gallery with a warm, inviting atmosphere. This means brightly lit, handcrafted wooden cases and a 12-foot-long sprawling oak table by Coyote Woodshop, dubbed the “discovery station.” Adding to the warming effect, bamboo lines the rafters, helping to banish any customer’s concern that their purchase might be “taboo.”

Columbia Care by Bruce Hampton and RPG. Photography courtesy of Columbia Care.


3. Firms: Bruce Hampton; RPG

Project: Columbia Care. 

Location: New York. 

Standout: New York-based design and build firm RPG created a branded experience for 10 medical marijuana dispensaries; here, the very first flagship was unveiled in New York in January. Wood, marble, bronze, and white solid surfacing are meant to appeal to patients, pharmacists, and consultants alike by creating a contemporary, comfortable environment firmly grounded in healthcare. The space creates a new face for medical marijuana thanks to soft lighting, modern seating vignettes, and large-format photography meant to educate patients on the wellness properties of various cannabis plants. Additional videos and tablets for each patient endeavor to offer the highest standards of professionalism.

Silverpeak Apothecary by Tanagram Design. Photography by Michael Brands.

4. Firm: Tanagram Design

Project: Silverpeak Apothecary. 

Location: Aspen, Colorado. 

Standout: In Colorado, legal marijuana is transforming the retail scene with pot shops popping up everywhere. In Aspen, you can expect them to look a little nicer. That’s where Tanagram Design turned Silverpeak Apothecary into a luxe environment with warm wood accents and sleek display cases that are a far cry from tie-dye and plywood. 

Pineapple Express by the McBride Company. Photography courtesy of the McBride Company.

5. Firm: The McBride Company

Project: Pineapple Express

Standout: This national chain is biding its time until the federal legalization of marijuana—which they believe will happen in the next three years. But they’re ahead of the game with a design concept they’re planning to roll out across the U.S., inspired by the aesthetic of a refined Hawaiian resort. “We sought to address the many setbacks, inefficiencies and outdated technologies present in the current legal dispensary model,” says Pineapple Express founder Matthew Feinstein. “The McBride Company took our vision and delivered an ideal shop design that is unique, streamlined and incredibly memorable.” The design team rejects the traditional consultation counter we’re seeing at other marijuana dispensaries and instead embraces a true retail experience with touch screens, creative installations, bakery-like display cases, and plush furniture.

View the slideshow for more images from each project.

Continue reading Trending: 5 Marijuana Dispensaries Tap Into High Design

2018 Trends: Micro-Hospitals to Gain Popularity

E4H’s Jason Carney explains why micro-hospitals are preferred by health-care providers and how telehealth will continue to transform the industry. The architect also talks about what kind of projects meet the needs of patients and medical staff in 2018.
Jason Carney
Jason Carney, partner at E4H

As Baby Boomers age—10,000 Americans will turn 65 every day for the next 20 years—the total demand for inpatient care will witness enormous growth. With the number of mental health patients on the rise, micro-hospitals are steadily evolving into consumer-friendly environments, taking their cue from the hospitality industry. 

In addition, architects are prone to further incorporate digital technologies into how both patients and employees interact with and within medical spaces. So what features should health-care designers watch out for in 2018? Architect Jason Carney, partner at Environments for Health Architecture, shared his views with Commercial Property Executive, highlighting the industry’s top trends for 2018.

What are the major trends impacting the health-care industry today?

Carney: The trend of health care as a commodity continues in many different markets across the country. It’s driving the tailored placement of core services at convenient locations and in the design of consumer-friendly spaces that draw from the hospitality industry to attract patients. In these cases, market competition is driving providers to focus on building the “right” styles of facilities, with the “right” services, in the “right” places to attract patients, many of whom are increasingly making health-care provider decisions based on how close a facility is to mass transit, a highway off-ramp or a shopping center. Technological innovation and medical breakthroughs are accelerating changes in the way care is delivered and spaces are configured. 

It certainly seems that industry leaders are moving away from developing inpatient structures, while micro-hospitals are growing more popular. How does your vision fit in this general framework?

Carney: Long-term success of micro-hospitals requires flexibility. As growth occurs or markets change, micro-hospitals need to be able to adapt. It is important to understand the core medical services that are needed in each market to sustain a micro-hospital and how that facility may grow and adapt over time as the market changes.

How can outdated health-care facilities be upgraded and adapted to the needs of patients and staff in 2018?

Carney: Space within an existing hospital campus comes at a premium and must be thoughtfully designed to provide an optimal experience, utilization and return on investment. In some cases, the best choice is to remove outdated buildings and provide for replacement within the existing campus structure. 

One version we are seeing is the creation of the “hospital within a hospital”—essentially, a specialty hospital sited within the existing or reconfigured shell of a larger “host” hospital. These can include maternity hospitals, heart-focused hospitals or other specialty hospitals that sit inside a larger medical center. And whether it’s expanding access to telehealth or creating spaces, where appropriate, that feel more like extended-stay hotels than inpatient hospitals, opportunities abound to reconfigure existing hospital spaces to better serve patients.

Interview quote CPE Jason Carney 02

How can large-hospital services be integrated into smaller, off-campus facilities?

Carney: One leading solution we see health-care providers opting for is “micro-hospitals,” which are typically 15,000 to 50,000 square feet in size, open 24/7 and providing five to 15 inpatient beds for observation and short-stay use. Micro-hospitals are an affordable, effective way to provide a large variety of big-hospital services in the community, including surgery, radiology, emergency departments and related services.

At least 19 states now have at least one micro-hospital and many more are coming. Now that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have authorized micro-hospitals that have dedicated emergency departments as being eligible for both 340B discounted drug pricing and the Outpatient Prospective Payment System, we expect micro-hospitals will prove increasingly popular with providers and patients alike.

How can new design features offer better solutions to efficiently accommodate cognitively impaired patients as opposed to older construction types?

Carney: Between the impacts of the national opioid abuse crisis and the rising awareness of mental health conditions, we’re seeing more and more hospitals–such as Connecticut’s Waterbury Hospital and Newport Hospital in Rhode Island–reconfigure their emergency departments (ED) to accommodate cognitively impaired patients more effectively and more sensitively. A big part of this is simply creating spaces for cognitively impaired people that are thoughtfully segregated from areas serving trauma victims or cardiac arrest patients, places where they can receive a behavioral health or addiction management intervention with compassion and dignity.

Spatial arrangements and interior design elements that improve a patient’s understanding and awareness of their environment while working to reduce anxiety are important components of this design. Also, because patients with cognitive impairment and behavioral issues often require longer stays than the general ED population, a definite emerging best design practice is adding features for them such as bathroom showers, places to securely store belongings and access to decompression space.

What can the health-care industry learn from the hospitality sector in terms of design trends?

Carney: We see many hospitals embracing the trend of removing outpatient services from traditional, larger hospitals and moving them into more consumer-friendly, hospitality-influenced environments, like new medical buildings near shopping malls or transportation nodes. These aren’t just spaces that feel more hospitality than hospital—they create operational efficiencies, improve clinical outcomes and reduce readmission rates. There’s also a growing recognition that larger parts of the inpatient hospital experience can be accommodated in less hospital-like environments, which patients prefer.

Could you give us an example of such a project?

Carney: A great example is E4H’s recent work with a New York hospital to create a long-term space for immunocompromised patients going through a procedure such as a bone-marrow transplant (BMT). The first phase of a BMT—surgery and initial recuperation—obviously must take place in an inpatient hospital setting. But in later phases, when patients are recovering and need mainly to be monitored closely for infections or complications, they don’t require a standard inpatient hospital room and can enjoy a much better, less costly experience in a specially designed, hotel-like space.

For our client, we created a space for this “in-between” population that has private, suite-style rooms; specialized water filtration systems to protect immune-suppressed patients; and more of a hotel aesthetic. Patients are served by a concierge instead of a charge-desk nurse. If any of them develop complications, of course, they are quickly detected and patients can rapidly be brought back into the hospital for treatment. But if their recovery proceeds without incident, they can enjoy the equivalent of a long-term hotel stay, instead of long-term hospitalization, after their BMT.

Interview quote CPE Jason Carney 04

How will telehealth affect the industry in 2018?

Carney: Numbers we’ve seen from the health-care consulting firm Sg2 project that just in the next two years, the volume of virtual health-care patients will rise 7 percent and in-home health-care services will rise 13 percent. Ever-more-sophisticated patient monitors and ever-more-robust communications platforms are allowing more and more patients to enjoy telehealth consults with physicians and care-team professionals. Increasingly, we see telehealth being used to consult with specialists like dermatologists, radiologists, psychiatrists and others without patients having to schedule a second appointment or hospital visit.

How does it impact the actual design of a facility?

Carney: Telehealth is absolutely continuing to grow, and health-care facilities need to be thinking about how to incorporate more of it in their master facility plans. That can mean everything from configuring treatment rooms to accommodate remote consultation and providing infrastructure for broadband video links to heightened attention to the lighting, aesthetics and privacy of rooms in which telehealth consultations will occur.

Telehealth technology is also transforming lobbies, common spaces and admissions areas. Increasingly, these areas are being designed to include accessible areas for kiosks or tablets from which patients can register, view their records or videoconference with a provider. As telehealth continues to expand, we will see changes to staffing models and reduction of provider support space at care locations.

What about augmented reality?

Carney: As we look even further into the future, the use of augmented reality will change the way that patients interact with providers and how providers collaborate, research and plan their delivery of care. 

What can we expect beyond 2018 in terms of trends and challenges in health care?

Carney: Pressures to manage costs, accommodate continued medical and technological breakthroughs and meet the preferences and desires of health-care consumers and practitioners will only grow. New developments in approaches such as gene therapy and bioprinting will drive a greater need for specialized laboratory functions as a component of treatment. Further miniaturization of robotic systems will mean changes in surgery and the way that operating rooms are configured, with a growing emphasis on support for technology-assisted procedures.

Image courtesy of E4H

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