Moving is Living

1. 2. 2021

When designing the Center for Rehabilitation and Integrated Medicine (Crimed) in Poděbrady, the female duo consisting of architect Lucie Náhlovská and interior designer Kateřina Kersey chose movement as the central theme of the design. Crimed is a place where doctors help patients move again after injury. As you walk in, the interior immediately radiates positive energy, mainly thanks to the contrasting yet carefully harmonized pastel colors. The overall impression is that of an unconventional approach from the architect and designer as well as precise craftsmanship and attention to detail. The authors have entered the project into the Interior of the Year competition.

How did you get to design the interior of a medical facility in Poděbrady?

Lucie: We had previously designed the interior of another clinic in Turnov, which was our first collaboration. The investors from Crimed liked our Turnov design, so they reached out to us. 

Kateřina: Crimed specializes in musculoskeletal system therapy, and it was founded by people from Pavel Kolář’s well-known clinic in Prague. It employs leading doctors from the Czech Republic and Germany. They focus on a holistic approach, combining knowledge from both Western and Eastern medicine. It was important for us that the investor wanted a design that would be both sophisticated and appealing for the clients as well as functional and harmonious for the staff. In short, we wanted to design a physiotherapy center where you wouldn’t feel like in a medical facility. That was the client’s brief.

You seem to have managed to do that. How did you approach the central theme?

Kateřina: We wanted the clinic to be different and easily recognizable. We had the opportunity to design the interior from ground up because the building had been stripped down to the supporting structure. We tore down the rest and created a completely new layout that revolves around the reception desk.

What was your biggest inspiration?

Lucie: Definitely movement and healing. We wanted everyone who enters the clinic to feel good. The interior is supposed to inspire patients to mentally attune to healing. I believe we have achieved just that. The interior simply radiates energy.

Kateřina: It has to do with our work in general. When we design, there is always some energy and movement involved. The fact that the clinic specializes in the musculoskeletal system of athletes is definitely reflected in the design. For example, we wanted to express movement on the glass panes by decorating them with brush strokes in two colors. We designed the central elements to have organic and round shapes. You can see this in the shape of the reception desk. It was important for us to include natural materials and living objects, such as the green wall behind the reception, which was fairly difficult to build, technically speaking. Using greenery and connecting the interior to the park outside are the core principles of our project.

Doors also play a very important role…

Lucie: Yes, there are many doors on the 650 sq meter site – 38 in total, to be exact. The idea was to hide them as much as possible, especially in the central reception part of the interior. That is why we chose hidden doorframes and the Latente door model from SAPELI Unlimited with a cardboard exterior, which allows for the doors to be painted the same color as the walls. That is the only way you can truly match the colors of the walls and doors. 

Are hidden doorframes in vogue right now?

Lucie: Definitely. They are particularly important in complex interiors with a lot of doors – typically hallways. It is also important to hide functional elements in spaces where the architect wants to bring forward a big, central idea. Unless, of course, the door itself is the central element of the design, which is the case of the designer door MUTEO by SAPELI Unlimited. But that is a whole other story.

Kateřina: At first, the investor opposed the hidden doorframes, dismissing them as an architect’s fancy. But we managed to convince him that our design had been conceived as a perfect unit from the start, which required working with first-class materials in an integrated style. Although that comes at a cost, of course.

Why have you chosen SAPELI Unlimited?

Kateřina: We reached out to a number of suppliers but SAPELI Unlimited was a clear choice. We liked their comprehensive approach, flexibility and the fact that they were ready to resolve any issues that may arise on site. We were looking for someone with experience who can deliver a technically demanding solution within a limited time frame. The construction turned out to be fairly difficult, involving various floor heights and wall and plasterboard thicknesses. Everything had to fit together perfectly because this type of doors does not tolerate any imperfections.

Have you encountered any problems during implementation?

Lucie: That goes without saying. Every project has its complications. That is exactly why you need to have a supplier who can deal with them. For example, it was only on site when we realized we had accidentally placed light switches on the wrong side of the doors. A technician at SAPELI Unlimited immediately came up with an alternative wiring solution, which allowed us to place the switches where they belong. That saved us a lot of time.

It probably takes a very brave investor to agree to such a colorful design…

Kateřina: We tried to choose colors that do not feel aggressive. They are a bit more pronounced but the palette mostly contains harmonized pastel shades. Bold colors are used only for details or in dynamic rooms such as gyms, where they encourage movement. They are complemented by light polyurethane flooring from Flode, which brightens up and calms down the space. 

How does the public like the interior? Do you have any feedback?

Kateřina: I myself go to Crimed to exercise. So I am in touch with the client and the staff. I am very glad that the feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Long story short, people enjoy going there. And despite the Covid pandemic, the clinic has established itself very well and is very successful. That is the best testimonial we can get.

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