CAMHS – Edinburgh

Healthcare Interiors
Client
NHS Lothian
Location
Edinburgh
Size
1300sqm
Date
2019

Interior design of a new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services unit that pushes expectations of healthcare environments

Project details

The new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) brings together departments from across Edinburgh into a new purpose-built building. Following an open competition we were appointed to design the interiors of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) unit within the new hospital, including outpatient areas, courtyards and inpatient facilities for children from 8 to 18 years old.

Through a user-centred design approach, we produced a collaboratively developed and cohesive set of designs which push the boundaries of established thought about mental health care environments. It was a great pleasure to create these vibrant and unconventional healing spaces with the input, support and enthusiasm of NHS staff, patients and families.

Continuing our collaboration with artist James Leadbitter we held extensive interactive workshops with different user groups to refine the project brief. These were fascinating and informative sessions, which underlined the emotional and practical importance of well-designed spaces for mental health. This process helped us define a range of comfortable and non-clinical spaces for young people suffering from significant distress. Following the consultations, the hospital’s charity applied for, and won, additional funding to enable us to design solutions to issues which had been newly uncovered.

In answer to the question ‘What does good mental health feel like?’, many workshop participants described a coastal environment. Responding to this insight, we wove the theme of the sea through different spaces and programmes linking spaces within the department, and later, across to a separate CAMHS unit. The subtly themed interiors are age appropriate, gradually transforming from vibrant seaside colours and motifs for younger children to a more rugged offshore theme for teenagers.

The atmosphere is vibrant, friendly and non institutional without being artificially domestic or patronising. Making the most of interior and exterior space, we’ve created unique and efficient healthcare environments which offer comfortable, safe and joyful spaces to heal.

This project is part of an art and therapeutic design programme managed by Ginkgo Projects for the NHS. You can see other projects in the programme here.

Photography is by French + Tye

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