COLOR MEDICINE!! Cheap and cheerful – why not do it????

“In theory, one could preserve primary colours in a medicine chest, because colours possess both a preventive and a healing effect!!!!”

There is no doubt that Im a huge opponent and fighter against the way our hospitals look – If you have read my previous posts on this topic, you’ll know my arguments! I don’t get it – why do our public buildings look like nobody cares? Somebody must have thought about the interior design, the colors, the furniture, the art – but does it come down to costs, hygiene or what, do they just find random art and white in white as the best solution or what?

Actually the focus is more than ever on hospitals than for instance care homes and I know that architects today are very much aware of the fact that architecture, interior design, health and wellbeing are closely linked so there is hope for future patients in Denmark. But when I search around it seems like the focus is more on architecture than the aesthetic inside!

It doesn’t seem right that I have to refer back to the 70s, but nevertheless Paul Gernes (1925-1996) in my opinion has done the greatest job Hospital-wise in Denmark. Nobody can possibly doubt that Gernes motive behind his artwork was social – he truly cared  about the people!

Poul Gernes transformation of Herlev Hospital began in 1968 and contains the most extensive artwork. He thought about every little detail and his color scheme was endless but CLEAR! 

At the outset the intention was only to do the foyer – In other words, the decoration… was basically supposed to be there to delight and divert the building’s guests, the relatives and the people who were visiting those who had been admitted for care. The art here was not aimed so much at those who were sick, who were confined to their beds.

That being said the rest of the hospital should remain neutral and monochrome, which meant that: neither the personnel nor the patients – could be given any reason to react to what they saw around them. The patients should not be given any chance to be distracted from what they were thinking and feeling …, to be distracted from the pain, the suffering and the worrying. A white and completely neutral wall colour would always constitute the best projection screen for whatever notions one might entertain, since the empty wall would not provide any counter-play for anyone – and would certainly not provide any signals that might get a hospital patient to send his or her thoughts into other more stimulating directions. LIKE IT IS TODAY!!!

Poul Gernes really liked people and disliked white walls ONE of the reasons why I am a huge fan!! 

Whats really interesting is how the polychrome environment affected the personal and the patients. A three month long research was carried out and Im not surprised by the result and neither was Gernes!

… in short order was that the colour scheme, on the whole, had a positive effect on the surroundings: the colour was perceived as a psychosomatic asset, an invigorating remedy, which could be ingested without pills or injections. You just had to use your senses and take a look around… A few negative remarks were also heard… But most of the reactions were positive, and some were even enthusiastic, such as this one: “It’s more wonderful here than at the most expensive luxury hotel. The only thing I actually miss is a bar.” Or “I hope it will take at least a few weeks before I’m well, because I’ve never experienced such lovely surroundings” (Ekstra Bladet; November 18, 1970).

LASTLY and extremely important for the work environment and the level of service delivered, a nurse concluded:
“It takes a while for you to get used to the surroundings, but afterwards, it’s hard to feel comfortable anywhere else” (Ekstra Bladet; November 18, 1970).

I COULD NOT AGREE MORE

– Colours require a period of acclimation then they become addictive

 – Colours on the walls could have a stimulating effect on your mind in much the manner of a large bouquet of flowers on a table.

SOURCE:  The Medicine of Colours“ by Ulrikka S. Gernes and Peter Michael Hornung, Borgens Publishers, Copenhagen 2003

WHAT IS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF GERNES WORK – IMAGINE YOU BEING IN THE HOSPITAL?


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