Novamed Polyclinic in Zagreb/Croatia
Text: Skira Ltd.
Photos: Vjekoslav Skledar
Client: Novamed Polyclinic
Architects: Ante Nikša Bilić, Vanja Biščanić, Sunčica Mastelić-Ivić
Lighting designers: Dean Skira, Maja Lipovčić
In addition to its practical functions, such as increasing security, providing visual comfort and enhancing people activities, lighting also has another important task—creating emotions. Many medical researches already emphasized the connection between light and emotions and its benefits so it was only logical to apply them in a medical institution.
Healthcare projects are truly a great challenge for lighting designers. Nowadays many medical institutions are built to make the space look as non-institutional as possible. Creating a residential and relaxed atmosphere is beneficial to patient health, and a gentle, unobtrusive lighting system can accomplish that goal. Yet, complex visual activities have to be performed in the same space and the detailed cleaning activities also. Considering the variety of needs, it is crucial to find lighting solutions that effectively balance the visual requirements of all users. When choosing general lighting equipment in Novamed Polyclinic the decision was to use mainly fluorescent light sources, keeping focus on the color temperature specific for each room, and fixture performance to meet the highest standards.
While there are no rules in how to make good lighting, many manuals and technical books gives us proper guidelines on how to provide adequate lighting for different spaces. This can help us fulfill the formal requirements, but if we want to step out of the ordinary it takes more than that.
When a person in need of medical assistance walks into a clinic, expectations of interiors are usually connected with light green walls, Armstrong ceiling with 60x60 fluorescent fixtures. The idea in this project was to create a space that is fun and dynamic, colorful and inviting, with ever changing scenes of light where patient will not feel the pressure and formality of medical institution. That was the main intention, creating lighting that is more a sculptural installation instead of using formal lux per m2 lighting approach.
The interior of the Polyclinic is set of three levels in terms of pogramme. The ground floor includes reception zone, beauty centre, and Pediatrics’ Department, Internal Medicine Department, pharmacy and cafe bar. The first floor includes the Dental Medicine Polyclinic and Gynecology Department, and the second floor offices, a small hall for education and suites for patients.
In entrance and reception zone an organically shaped channel is winding through the plasterboard ceiling and reaching the cafe bar where it inosculates with the opposite semicircular wall in glass. Along this channel linear LED RGB lighting is hidden as well as the downlighters that are recessed into upper ceiling. The treatment of the ceiling, as the most important forming element of the Polyclinic, resulted from the awareness that the patients are usually directed towards it during the examinations. The downlighters are chosen to match the visual comfort and follow the organic contour.
The idea of this contour came out of a picture of brain cells in a local newspaper. Transforming the basic image of these cells into a lighted curve linear organic form was a challenge not only presenting the idea but also building it. It was necessary to find the exact possible location for the continuous curve since the ceiling is packed with various installations. It needed to bi perpetual to reveal the idea of continuity and connection of cells in our mind.
To reduce the number of visible elements it had to be reached out for some existing solutions such as the multi-lamp recessed luminaire that holds three or four adjustable projectors inside the housing. Thanks to the well planned height for the HVAC it was possible to integrate the lamp in form of lighting dome that needs 350mm depth in the ceiling and can provide desired amount of light, wired for fluorescent lamps and RGB LED module. In this way diffused and soft lighting was achieved with controllable intensity and changing colors.
The visitors probably won’t understand at first glance what this form represents but it will certainly make them think about it and forget for a moment where they actually entered and for which reason.
DEAN SKIRA, born in 1962, lighting designer with over twenty years of experience in designing innovative lighting solutions for urban, landscape and commercial spaces. He lives and works in Pula, Croatia. Even in his early childhood he was fascinated by light and its sources, strongly influenced by his father's professional work in stained glass. In 1986 he left for the USA to study lighting design and interior design at the Fashion Institute of Technologies in New York. In 1990 he established his own lighting design company and became a member of IES The Illuminating engineering society of North America, New York section within he specialised city and commercial lighting. In 1995 he based his work in Croatia together with his professional team of designers and engineers. Skira is also member of the Croatian Designers Society and Croatian Lighting Association. His role in the international field of illumination has been confirmed by many international awards and publications. Lighting design project for town of Buzet in Croatia was awarded by the IES Award of Merit 2002. In 2006 he built his office building and was acknowledged for it by the International prize Dedalo Minosse for Commissioning a Building 2007-2008, nomination for the EU prize Mies Van der Rohe 2009, IES Award of Merit 2009 and publication in the Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture. In 2010 his book "My light" was published by Arhitekst and Lupetti Editori di Comunicazione. His first lamp Lun-up, designed for iGuzzini, won the ARC Show Innovation award 2012 for the most innovative product, LDA award 2012 for the best external luminaire and the iF product design award 2013. Lighting design project for polyclinic Novamed won the IALD Special Citation award 2012 for the successful translation of a visual theme into light. His works have appeared in the most reliable architectural and lighting design magazines. At present he is working on several projects in Middle East, Russia, Slovenia, Italy, United Kingdom. Nowadays he regularly holds conferences and lectures in various universities worldwide from Italy, Germany, Israel, Brasil to USA. He promotes an architectural lighting design concept that goes beyond utilitarian where lighting can have high impact on person's emotional states.