Nymansgården short-stay care home, Halmstad Municipality
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During pilot study phase – Fredblads arkitekter in Halmstad. During planning and construction – A Konsult Arkitekter & Ingenjörer.
How do you balance medical requirements with the vision of an inclusive, homelike healthcare environment? This was the challenge facing Halmstad Municipality and Kinnarps when furnishing the new Nymansgården short-stay care home. “Involve the staff, think long-term, and listen to both medical and interior design experts,” says Niklas Ohlin, facilities planner at the municipality’s home care administration.
Nymansgården in Halmstad has 80 places for short-term care, respite care, palliative care and rehabilitation. Niklas Ohlin describes the home as a combination of hospital and accommodation, which places special and hard-to-reconcile requirements on the interior spaces.
“It must meet the high standards set for quality, hygiene and ergonomics for both patients and staff, while realising our vision for the most homelike and cosy environment possible. It’s a difficult balancing act, where different perspectives and needs have to be weighed against each other,” he says.
In the entrance to the home, the Thyra armchair has been teamed with houseplants and textiles in earthy tones to provide a warm welcome. The detachable components of the armchair are easy to update and replace as necessary without tools, while the gap between the seat and back ensures good hygiene.
The key to the project succeeding so well with its difficult task was bringing together different skill sets at an early stage – medical expertise, the staff who would be working at the home and interior design specialists. All with a focus on the quality of care, the staff’s working environment and the specific needs of the various healthcare services.
“Complex projects take time and you need to include all the different viewpoints from the beginning. The dialogue with the interior designers is vital – they’re professionals and know how to realise the vision with both user-friendly products and interior design solutions that make people feel at home,” he says.
During the process, personnel from Halmstad Municipality were given the opportunity to share their opinions and wishes, as well as test and evaluate different products. They also made a number of study visits to similar establishments.
“We had our vision to guide us, but it’s always worthwhile to see the products in real life, get to squeeze and feel them, understand how they work, why some solutions are better than others and what the physical environment can add to the business,” says Niklas Ohlin.
He reports that the municipality’s procurement focused on requesting general functions based on the identified needs and the formulated vision, rather than specific solutions, in order to leave room for the supplier to come up with suggestions and ideas.
“We want to create an environment that’s sustainable in the long term in every way – for our planet, for the people living and working at Nymansgården, and for the municipality financially. In order to achieve this, we had to rely on the supplier understanding our needs and delivering a solution based on our overall set of requirements. It would have been wrong for us to start suggesting furniture and interior design, because we simply don’t have that expertise,” he says.
Niklas Ohlin says the municipality collaborated closely with Kinnarps once procurement was complete. The customised total solution created by Kinnarps’ team in Halmstad works seamlessly with both the business vision and the architecture. Light yet warm, earthy and natural colours and pure wood surfaces dominate. Stable and easy-care seating furniture in the apartments and communal areas creates a sense of security. And lighting, acoustics and colours customised to the business contribute to good total ergonomics.
“It’s been reassuring to work with a company that understands the task, challenges and opportunities, and can then deliver the actual solutions needed. We’re getting a lot of positive reactions from both residents and relatives, who report a sense of well-being here. In addition, we offer a good working environment, with a mixture of soft and hard factors, which makes it easier to recruit staff for continued high business quality.”
Among other things, Niklas highlights Kinnarps’ choice of both durable and visually appealing materials, as well as furniture that’s practical, wipeable and easy to care for in every way – while adding both visual and social values.
“Our spacious restaurant in the entrance, which is open to residents and visitors, is an example of how the interior design contributes to social sustainability, as well as the calm and secure spaces throughout the home, which creates welcoming rooms for both togetherness and privacy. It feels good that we’ve done the right thing from the beginning and invested in interior spaces with qualities that will last over time,” says Niklas Ohlin.