CAMHS – Edinburgh

Healthcare Interiors
NHS Lothian

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

CAMHS Edinburgh Inpatient Communal Space
CAMHS Edinburgh vaulted ceiling and lighthouse
CAMHS Edinburgh lighthouse and activity space
CAMHS Edinburgh lighthouse window detail
CAMHS Edinburgh quiet room
CAMHS Edinburgh dining room
CAMHS Edinburgh games room
CAMHS Edinburgh waiting room
"The spaces have been designed with real thought to ensure that they can not only facilitate first-class patient care, but will help to put our patients and their families at ease. We are delighted to have worked with Projects Office in designing this incredible space and are grateful to Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity for their continued funding and support." David Pickering-Gummer. General Manager REAS, NHS Lothian.
CAMHS Edinburgh Bedroom
CAMHS Edinburgh personalisable wall
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