What better way to observe a patient than to watch them play? That’s the idea behind the Wellness Playscape, a Hong Kong paediatric clinic focused on orthopaedics and scoliosis. Bean Buro designed the space with elements that promote movement — bean-shaped inlays in the concrete floor that kids can leap between, a stepped set of benches that they can scale — so that the doctor can get a first-hand look at how they move to complement a detailed medical history.
Fittingly, the 93-square-metre interior is also based on the idea of a spine – in this case, it’s represented by the timber wall that divides the space, curving to form a canopy over the main waiting/playing area. Here, a cloud-like communal table and those softly contoured wooden benches provide a much friendlier experience than a typical waiting room, both for children and their families.
To round out the warm vibe, relaxing music pipes out from speakers, calming aromas waft from air diffusers and ambient lighting is integrated into the wood canopy. A guest pantry and a living room–like nook, with soft seating, plants and a coffee table, create a distinctly residential feel.
On the opposite side of the timber wall are the doctor’s consultation office, examination room, and a painting studio room (the doctor likes to make canvases that are then displayed on the clinic’s many gallery-white walls). These enclosures are delineated with a teal finish — also used in the millwork of the pantry — and generous glazing.
Like the waiting area, the design of these clinical spaces is sensitive and soothing. The consultation table, for instance, has a leather pad inset on which patients can rest their elbows during the examination. And those bean-shaped floor inserts continue into these rooms to keep up the light, bright mood. No need here for the self-conscious seriousness of the typical doctor-patient experience.
If curves feature prominently throughout — in the white millwork framing the reception and the curves of the horizontal surfaces, from countertops to tables and benches — that’s because they’re something of a calling card for Bean Buro. The studio, formed by RIBA architects Lorène Faure and Kenny Kinugasa-Tsui, has created a signature aesthetic that exudes a shapely playfulness. In this case, it’s just what the doctor ordered.
With the Wellbeing Playscape, Bean Buro creates a kids clinic for orthopaedics and scoliosis that encourages movement and play as an evaluation tool.