Colour psychology – Forbo helps revive children’s hospital

Uplifting flooring solution boosts interiors and relieves anxiety at The Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital

Colour was used extensively to improve the patient environment for young people

Colour is having a profound effect on young patients following a flooring scheme at The Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.

After extensive colour research, Tinto Architecture specified Forbo Flooring Systems’ acoustic floor covering, Sarlon, in an array of striking colours, in order to create an interior that had a profoundly positive effect on both patients and staff.

The array of calming and mood-boosting colours from the Sarlon collection is also combined with the benefits of 15dB impact sound reduction and easy maintenance.

What’s more, the project went on to be recognised for a commendation in the 2016/2017 Fly Forbo competition.

The ARCHIE Foundation, the official charity of Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, approached Tinto Architecture to develop a new design for the reception and café areas at the front entrance of the hospital.

Associate architect at Tinto Architecture, Ewen Buchan, said: “The existing reception to the children’s hospital was not very child friendly and therefore we knew we had to create surroundings which would produce a comfortable-yet-calming environment for patients and parents.

“It was also important that we created a space that children would love and in which they would feel completely at ease.

“Knowing that colour can have a profound effect on human behaviour and emotions; we worked with The ARCHIE Foundation to specify the floor colours and the overall design, as they have great knowledge of colour psychology thanks to the extensive research they have completed, some of which was based on research by Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung.”

The hospital area contains a large tree structure in the centre of the main waiting area, and large windows, which span from floor to ceiling, with views out onto the gardens.

With this in mind, Tinto Architecture specified green tones to link with the new hospital garden and reflect its calming nature.

As green is a reassuring colour, signifying harmony and balance, they knew it would work well in this area for those visiting the hospital, who are often facing tough times.

Buchan said: “We specified Forbo’s Sarlon in Avocado and Lime colourways in the centre of the room and bordered it with a striking blue. The colours add to the serenity of the room as it is said they invoke trust.”

Another important consideration for healthcare design is acoustic performance.

Acoustical engineers at John Hopkins University found that noise in hospitals has significantly increased since the 1960s; with average daytime hospital sound levels rising from 57-72 decibels, while average nighttime levels have jumped from 42-60 dB.

These far exceed the World Health Organization's recommendation of 35dB as a top measure for sound levels in patient rooms.

The Sarlon Acoustic Vinyl range has been developed and tested to offer up to 19db impact sound reduction, while also meeting the needs of heavy traffic commercial areas and retaining a minimum residual indentation.

Forbo’s Eternal Wood in Elegant Oak was used in the family waiting area as its natural design fitted in perfectly with the outdoor theme of the room.

In another, smaller, area, used as a fundraising office, Sarlon was used in Buttercup Yellow, which signifies optimism, confidence and friendliness – all of which are positive emotions for hospital visitors.

Buchan said: “Within the hospital entrance we installed Forbo’s Coral Welcome entrance flooring system paired with Nuway entrance barrier matting.

“They work hand-in-hand to achieve a durable, strong entrance system designed for heavy footfall – minimising the risk of dirt being carried into the building significantly. This is important in a hospital which sees hundreds of children pass in and out every day.”

The flooring was installed by General & Technical Flooring Surfaces.

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