EKH Children Hospital

IF (Integrated Field) with S:CSB

In Thailand, commercial healthcare and tourism healthcare are big industries, and many hospitals are responding with luxury designs to attract ‘clients’ – not ‘patients’. Recognising that hospitals can be uncomfortable places for adults to visit, they are creating more pleasant and welcoming environments with architecture and interior design that feels similar to a shopping mall or high-end hotel. But for kids, luxury isn’t something that can comfort them from pain, from fear of needles, or from the bitterness of medicine.

EKH Children Hospital in Samut Sakhon explores how design could provide comfort to children in the healthcare context. Integrated Field (IF) adopted a children’s mind set to seek out things that would bring children happiness and relaxation during their hospital visit. They realised that ‘fun’ is what every child instinctively looks for. IF adopted the perspective of a child and looked for ways to make the hospital a ‘fun’ place by incorporating aspects of playground design into the planning, functionality and aesthetics.

They installed a giant slide in the entrance hall to welcome children; they transformed the waiting area of each clinic into a playground; they welcomed little patients for a swim in an ethereal cloud-topped pool; and they employed a pastel palette throughout the complex to provide a sense of whimsy. These elements consequently create a friendly, warm and safe environment for children as well as other visitors.

The hospital offers four room types with friendly names: Whale, Turtle, Lion and Rabbit Constellation. Each room is decorated in a different colour and installed above the bed is a glow-in-the-dark constellation with a customised lamp to provide both a standard lighting and level of illumination that is suitable for a good night’s sleep. Indirect light illuminates all the hallways to ensure that young patients won’t be disturbed by the discomfort of excessive brightness. Furniture is sized to correspond with children’s body proportions, creating a built environment that truly accommodates children’s behaviours and preferences.

Furniture: K2J. Lighting: Chingchai & Sons Engineering, L&E Lamptitude, ENDO Lighting. Finishes: Resysta, Iris, Nrdc, BSG Glass, SKK, EDL. Fittings & Fixtures: Häfele.

Photography: Ketsiree Wongwan