Client projects: Psychiatry’s quarters

Project facts

Västfast and Södra Älvsborg Hospital psychiatric unit

White Architects

Operations in the renovated building:
Psychiatry outpatient care and administrative facilities

Operations in new construction:
Inpatient wards, an 80-bed emergency department for adult psychiatric patients, a 10-bed unit for paediatric psychiatric patients, a rehabilitation unit and administrative offices

Borås, Sweden



Sustainable circularity and reuse in focus

Psychiatry’s quarters is a major investment in bringing together psychiatric care in one clinic at Södra Älvsborg Hospital, southwest Sweden. It’s also a significant investment in using recycled furniture to create a sustainable circular flow. “Interior design is an important element of healthcare, and we’re pleasantly surprised by how good recycled furniture can be when the solution is well thought-out and well planned,” says project manager Pernilla Jansson.

Psychiatry’s quarters in Borås consists of a new star-shaped building and a renovated older building linked together by a newly built main entrance. The purpose of the project has been to bring all psychiatric care in the catchment area together in one place and create more fit-for-purpose spaces for both patients and staff. “We don’t want our clinic to feel like a closed institutional facility – we want it to feel welcoming and supportive of the patient’s independence, freedom and self-reliance, while also feeling peaceful, safe and secure for everyone moving around the building,” says Pernilla Jansson. What also makes the project special is that about three-quarters of the items of furniture in the older building have been reused, with many of them being refurbished, refreshed and customised by Kinnarps.

We didn’t think much of the old interior design could be saved, but after the renovation you can’t tell the difference between the reused and newly produced furniture. Everything feels equally fresh and blends well together.

Pernilla Jansson, Project Manager, Psychiatry’s quarters, Södra Älvsborg Hospital

Sofas and easy chairs from the Humlan range were allowed to keep their birch legs, but were reupholstered with artificial leather.

At the beginning of the project, the existing interior design was inventoried to see what of the old furniture suited White Architects’ interior design concepts and could be renovated and brought up to date. Kinnarps updated and renewed 600 of about 900 items of furniture in total.

"The demand for sustainable solutions and reuse is growing, and we have good systems that can handle extensive and complex projects. There are only winners in this, not least the environment," says Peter Göransson, Kinnarps Borås. But just because something’s circular doesn’t automatically mean that it’s sustainable. First, a professional assessment must be made to ensure that products that are not sustainable or suitable are removed.

The requirement was that the new and reused furniture should comply with the same high environmental requirements and well thought-out interior design concepts to last over time.

Pernilla Jansson, Project Manager, Psychiatry’s quarters, Södra Älvsborg Hospital

New and reused in harmony. In the waiting room, the newly produced Noon sofa is joined by the reused Vigor and Afternoon chairs as well as tables – all in uniform green tones.

The Jig chair was upholstered in a harmonious and muted green shade.

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Before and after. Kinnarps’ chair classic, Valv, was given a completely new and modern look!

Another important factor in a truly sustainable circular flow is that the furniture is made in a sustainable way from the outset, using environmentally friendly and high-quality materials. The fact that a large proportion of the furniture that was reused had originally been made in Sweden by Kinnarps simplified the process and helped to maintain the circular flow in the project. In Kinnarps’ factory in Skillingaryd in Sweden, seats and backrests were provided with new sustainability-certified fabrics/artificial leather, and the underframes were spray or powder coated. The furniture was then transported back to Borås city in Kinnarps’ distinctive way, wrapped in reusable blankets instead of single-use packaging and transported in Kinnarps’ own trucks running on fossil-free fuel.

"We were first told that there wasn't much furniture to reuse, but when we went out and looked, we saw great potential. And that’s often the case. It’s almost always possible to reuse more than you think without compromising on function or appearance. Our design knowledge is important for the end result," says Susanna von Eyben from White Architects.

In this case, 20-year-old products were given a new lease on life and can continue to be relevant and support the clinic’s activities. The longer the life cycle of an item of furniture, the lower its environmental impact. This is why it’s extremely important to us that our furniture can be used over a long period of time and thus achieve a low life cycle cost.

Peter Göransson, Kinnarps Borås

Pernilla Jansson is also more than satisfied and convinced that reuse will become increasingly common in Region Västra Götaland and at Södra Älvsborg Hospital.

“Sustainability arguments are compelling. The environmental and economic aspects are obvious, but there are social aspects too. Everyone working here can take pride in our efficient use of resources, and since we’re a taxpayer-funded operation, reuse also creates legitimacy for us in the local community,” she says.

While we have tried to reuse as much as possible in the past, we haven’t always had sufficient knowledge, resources and procedures. We’ve now learned a lot from both White and Kinnarps, and have seen that it works fantastically well if you work consciously and methodically in both the design and implementation phases.

Pernilla Jansson, Project Manager, Psychiatry’s quarters, Södra Älvsborg Hospital

Space for breaks. The Invito easy chair was reupholstered in a muted blue colour.

Popular lunch room. Updated chairs and sofa in earthy colours unite in the lunch room.

The Vigor easy chair was updated with delightful green tones.

Sustainable circularity

Just because something’s circular doesn’t automatically mean that it’s sustainable. Sustainable and circular interior design is about making conscious choices, creating flexible solutions and choosing high quality. We offer everything from analyses, inventory and interior design solutions to advice on ergonomics, choice of colours and materials and updates to existing furniture.

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