We asked ICRAVE’s Lionel Ohayon how he brings wellness design to a series of spaces for cancer-care leader Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York.
On hospitality informing healthcare:
Hospitality and hospital are born together. We’ve learned about human interactions, enabling life, and how to manage anxiety in our hospitality work. A hospital brings all that learning into hyper focus.
On evolving a design ethos:
We asked, ‘Can we design a building that is an active participant in your cure?’ We felt we could do more—that the solutions we put forward could have a greater impact on the lives of cancer patients who would be spending significant time in these places.
On creating a space anchored in self-discovery:
[We learned for cancer patients] one of the most debilitating things about the experience is that you lose control of your life. We wanted to give people the power of choice. We conceived the hospital as a vertical city with a series of neighborhoods with their own characteristics. The three main concepts are activation, restoration, and recreation. Each delivers a different experience, and within each are spaces that allow patients to take back some control, even if that means finding quiet tucked into a small corner.
On designing with compassion:
A hospital is a very real landscape. The dramas that unfold are profound. You are literally dealing with life and death moments every day. Sometimes leaving the hospital and facing the world can be overwhelming. Creating private spaces where you can regroup, close a door, and collect yourself before setting out onto the streets of New York meant redesigning how the process of information is shared. Designing with compassion is understanding there are needs that support the everyday.
On making healthcare spaces feel welcoming:
We never thought of them as healthcare spaces. We used a different palette box and materials. When we couldn’t find something that worked, we developed it. If we had started from healthcare and moved the dial to hospitality, we would have had moderate success.
A version of this article was originally published by Hospitality Design.