Colour can heal- Highly successful seminars

by Tania Wannenburg

2012 saw the culmination of much planning after FloorworX launched its 2012 Trends brochure in Volume 29.6 2011 of FLOORS in Africa. The 2012 FloorworX colour trends for the medical and healthcare environments evoked so much interest from the industry that FloorworX decided to host three SAIA-accredited Colour Can Heal seminars during June in Bytes Conference Centre, Midrand; Coastlands on the Ridge Hotel in Durban; and Plascon Freeworld Design Centre in Cape Town. With all three venues booked out in advance, the seminars, which featured top international and local presentations on this subject, can be deemed successful.

Trends in the healthcare market illustrate a focus on total healing, emphasising wellness over illness. Colours are a vital design element for projects in healthcare as they significantly contribute to a sense of well-being through a positive healing process.

As colours are created in the psyche they induce emotional reactions and by association also physical reactions. By subtly using ‘colour therapy’ colours with décor – be it walls, floors or soft furnishings – the relief or cure of certain ailments is achieved.

Several renowned experts in colour therapy and the use of colour in healthcare applications gave presentations at the seminars. They were:
Dr Helle Wijk, senior lecturer and associate professor at The Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University Institute of Health & Care Sciences in Sweden; Lisa Taylor and Jeanne van der Walt (NCS Colour Centre SA); and Gavin Graham (ACG Architects & Planners). These are their introductory comments on the presentations they gave at the seminars:

Helle Wijk:
Dr Wijk shared new design principles which have been developed, aimed at promoting healing environments that can contribute to patients’ recovery and well-being, as well as helping staff to cope better with stress and increase relatives’ involvement in the caring process.

Dr Wijk said: “There is a strong need to enable better architectural programming as well as design in different kinds of healthcare building projects including assisted-living services. In addition residential healthcare is a new research area within the field of evidence-based design, concerned with a situation where more of healthcare activities take place in private homes. This is an increasing tendency connected to the demographic development in many countries around the world. Collaboration between architecture, medicine and caring could be expanded when planning for new institutions so as to promote a better understanding of the special needs of the patients.”

Lisa Taylor:
Lisa Taylor of the NCS Colour Centre SA presented a small part of the NCS Colour Course which is accredited by SAIA along with the research for the 2012 FloorworX colour trends in medical and healthcare regarding how each colour was chosen and the process behind each theme.

Choosing colour for the healthcare environment becomes simple when using the NCS Colour Circle – full download of the NCS Navigator at www.floorworx.co.za.

For all patient-related areas, concentrate the floor colours on the lower half of the circle from R20B to G10Y. Cool colours, if chosen for the floor, with low lightness values aim to induce relaxation, healing and sleep.

For the corridors, entrance areas, visitor rooms, day rooms, cafeterias and administration areas use the upper half of the colour circle from G20Y to R10B when choosing flooring colours.

Gavin Graham:
FloorworX selected Khayelitsha Hospital in Cape Town as their showcase project for the seminars.

“Key elements used which made Khayelitsha Hospital’s design a great success were its inside-outside relationship; use of natural light; colour and texture, with assistance from Jeanne van der Walt; murals and artwork from locals; and the fact that ACG Architects & Development Planners were able to create a truly patient-centred healing environment which is an accessible, sustainable, state-of-the-art African hospital.”

In addition, integrating strong links to nature in the overall design of healthcare spaces has shown itself to be critical to patient well-being and their recovery process. Dr Wijk presented research to show that links to nature not only significantly impact on recovery rates and reduce anxiety but also benefit the institution with higher staff retention rates.

It so happened that ACG Architects & Development Planners used some of the research from a fellow colleague of Dr Wijk – Roger Ulrich. Thus, links to nature were used extremely successfully at Khayelitsha Hospital.

Jeanne van der Walt:
“Colours have the power to heal, empower, impress…”

Jeanne van der Walt, an independent NCS consultant, assisted ACG Architects & Development Planners with colour selection for the showcase project, Khayelitsha Hospital. She emphasised throughout her talk how important it is to choose a theme and use it throughout a healthcare facility.

Many factors need to be taken into consideration when determining the ultimate choice for accent colours. It is very important that the accent colours enhance the form, scale, aspect, lighting, architecture, desired style and mood of the hospital to ensure one creates an environment which “houses” happy patients, visitors, doctors and staff.

Industry members who missed the seminars will be able to view the webinar which will be available on the CCN portal in due course.

Contact Theresa Venter, marketing manager of FloorworX, on tventer@floorworx.co.za.

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