Color is a paramount element of environmental design. It is linked to psychological, physiological, visual, aesthetic, and technical aspects of human-made habitats. Color is a vital aspect of every design that influences variety of surroundings. A hospital is a place that conveys a feeling of peace and calm. A healthcare professional marks the influence of color in a variety of environments within healthcare facilities, which impacts the brain and results in betterment of health. In the building where chief task is to heal the sick and injured, color do matters for both patients and healthcare personnel. Hospitals consist of numerous rooms like patient’s room, staff room, waiting room, reception space, laboratory and more. The planning revolves around well ventilated lobbies to neutral-toned operating rooms; adding to this there are many spaces where carefully selecting color can maximize comfort for occupants and users.
CHHAVI VASHIST ARCHITECT Color is a potent communication tool and is often used by designers to strengthen action, influence mood, and tap into emotions. Colour design for interiors covers all materials and surfaces, including everything from light and paint to art and ambience, from aesthetics to functionality. You need to decide right shades for each and every room. You cannot choose any color you wish. A perfectly crafted color palette can do wonders for a healthcare facility, whether it’s the product of a new-build project, renovation, or just a bit of rejuvenation. Some studies say that the patients express a preference for lighter hues for their rooms—from the ceilings and floors to the furniture and upholstery. Creative colour schemes can lead to more stimulating environments, which will be of benefit to all users. Neutral palettes with soft natural tones work best for patient rooms and can offer a hand in calming patients and their family members, facing the stress of having an ill loved one. The designers should avoid using palettes with strongly contrasting colors in these spaces, as they are known to cause strain for occupants. In intensive care units, colors like blue, violets and greens are recommended. Not only are these healing colors, that help in calming and soothing-they also have stress reducing effect. In such health care spaces, avoid the use of bright and energy inducing colors like red, yellow and orange. Similar design considerations should be made where patients and their family members will spend time, such as waiting areas in emergency departments. Space should overall balance and every design element shall complement each other. It is important to manage this atmosphere with right color tones. It could be the nurses’ station, for example, and that certainly should be different than a patient room. Employee spaces should be home-like, that Increase comfort for doctors, nurses and other staff members.
Professionals providing the care in healthcare environments are known for working long, stressful 9-12 hrs shifts, and standing for hours on end. They need a zone to respite to rest and rejuvenate. Brightly lit rooms with stronger color palettes can help those needing a quick break to stay fresh and lively. Cool colors add some warmth, as well, using neutrals, beautiful beiges, warm wood tones to go along with those and give you a nice sense of tranquility. Darker, subtler break rooms with softer lighting are preferred by many workers looking to rest for longer periods of time. Providing changing rooms and lockers with sterilized space and calming interior is what worker looks for. Colour design and lighting can make the staff’s job a lot easier by providing the best possible viewing conditions, making it approachable for all users of the building. In operating rooms it is important to neutralize the red color. In the operating room, surgeons and surgical nurses are focuses on one color: blood red. While white is habitually seen as the institutional color of preference, more often than not operating rooms will need the use of blue or green on the walls to contrast across the red. This is the reason that hospital scrubs are generally hued in blue or green color. Scrutinizing one color for a specific amount of time will produce an image of a complementary color afterward (termed as afterimages), so it is best to avoid stark white backgrounds. With white walls, surgeons would constantly see blue-green spots when looking away from the operating table. Accommodations, waiting areas and wards are designed considering patient conditions and age. Children’s hospitals are often colorful and bright in their design to help pediatric patients feel at home during their stay. In contrast, nursing homes are softer and more neutral. With elderly populations, vision is changing and deteriorating, so greater contrast is needed to help guide patients through their rooms. Consider saturated colors over pastels, which can blur together in patients with poorer eyesight or vision disorders. Take into account the various medical conditions of certain patients. One example can be taken of patient suffering from jaundice, or yellowing of the skin. Doctors and nurses treating those with the condition may find difficulty while assessing patients if yellow and blue walls or surfaces are dominant. Color therapy and healing (called chromo therapy or light therapy) is a body of practical guidance to color mixing and the visual effects of a specific color combination. The psychology of color is based on the mental and emotional effects colors have on sighted people in all facets of life. Selecting colors to different spaces is a task.
While there is no concrete scientific evidence supporting its effects, the use of color psychology can help enhance the function of a space or room. Natural colors, such as green, blue, or brown, are seen as calming, and can signal the designation of a room. Red, while a stimulating color especially for creative types, is often avoided in facilities that treat neurological conditions or patients suffering from ailments such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Orange – Symbolizing the sun, the color orange is said to treat depression by increasing alertness and concentration, and by decreasing feelings of dread. Appetite can be improved with warmer color choices for dining—for example, coral, peach, and soft yellow. Violets, yellow-green, gray, olive, and mustard are poor choices! Yellow to green tones should be avoided because they are associated with body fluids. Yellow, green, and purpose colors are not flattering to the skin and reflect jaundiced skin tones. Yellow color schemes may cause difficulties for people who have yellowing lenses. Bright yellow colors can intensify to the point of annoying. Pastel yellows are difficult to distinguish from white (which appears yellow). Healing hues are the colors like blue, green and white. It is found that these colors have extraordinary psychological effects and that is why they are widely suggested for hospital rooms. Green and blue are best refreshing and relaxing colors, they promote peaceful atmosphere and encourages concentration. Blue – The most common color used in color therapy, blue is used to reduce tension throughout the body, helping with both anxiety and depression. Navy blue and white, when used together, create a nautical, oceanic color palette that often represents sailing, and sailors.
The terms “feeling blue” or “getting the blues” refers to the extreme calm feelings associated with blue, such as sadness and depression. Green is the color of Nature and the earth. It’s balanced and harmonious in essence and possesses a soothing influence upon both mind and body. Green can be used for just about any condition in need of healing. Green offers calming effects to the nerves. Psychiatric wards and hospital waiting rooms are usually painted in green color. It is the reason surgeons wear green clothes. Green is the basic color for designating safety and the location of first aid equipment, other than fire fighting equipment example, safety bulletin boards, first aid kits, first aid dispensary, stretchers, and safety deluge showers. Green flooring is particularly good at showing up spills of body fluids, thus helping to prevent accidents due to slippery floors. White is clean and crisp, and hospitals should always remain clean, so white is a natural color choice. White color is commonly used in majority of hospital walls. It is because it offers calm and peace mood to the visitors. The second reason to choose white color is it denotes cleanliness. It makes the patient feel assured and implies sterility. It is the reason most nurses and doctors wear white uniforms. Black, white or combination of black and white are the basic colors for designation of traffic and housekeeping markings. Solid white, solid black, single color striping, alternating stripes or checkers of white and black is used in accordance with local conditions (e.g., dead ends of aisles or passageways; location and width of aisles or passageways, stairways [risers, direction and border limit lines]; directional lines; location of refuse cans; drinking fountains and food dispensing equipment locations; clear floor areas around first aid, fire fighting, or other emergency equipment). Red is used for protection equipment and apparatus, danger, and stopping. Example, fire exit signs, fire alarm boxes, fire extinguishers and fire hose connections, stop buttons or electrical switches, etc. Purple on yellow signifies radiation hazards (e.g., rooms and areas outside or in-side buildings where radioactive materials are stored or which have been contaminated with radioactive materials; disposal cans for contaminated materials; burial grounds and storage areas for contaminated materials or equipment; containers for radioactive materials; contaminated equipment not placed in special storage.) Texture makes tones appear darker, absorbing important ambient light.
A monochromatic color scheme throughout the building may be perceived as institutional. It can become monotonous and boring when viewed for an extended period. It can contribute to sensory deprivation, which leads to disorganization of brain function, deterioration of intelligence, and an inability to concentrate. For those who suffer from a deficiency of perception, plan variety in color, pattern, and texture.
• The overall surround must be neither too bright nor too dim.
Glare sources, whether direct or indirect, should be eliminated.
Walls and floors should have a reasonable range of brightness levels. Easy to maintain finishes and furnishings should be chosen.
Excessive contrast is not visible in the immediate background to any task.
Look at each space and the people who occupy that space, the things that are occurring in that space, to make sure you’re looking at color in an appropriate way.
Provide tonal details at architraves, door frames, skirting and doors from their immediate surroundings by the use of depth (for example, raised mouldings to give shadow detail).
The cubicle curtains that divide spaces and the drapery treatments that are used on windows also are a great place to add some pattern and texture to bring a little bit of color and warmth into a space.
Limit the colour palette when choosing internal finish materials, using a lot of differing colours may lead to an environment which is too visually busy, leading to confusion and unease.
Coordinate colours of the building and existing finishes with paint for colour harmony.
Use colour and contrast in materials and textures to create surfaces which are tactile, visually stimulating and which use lighting to maximise shadow detail.
Provide continual visual interest with a variety of colour and lighting levels: this will ensure that users do not have feelings of boredom or under-stimulation due to monotonous visual environments. There should be meaningful lighting.
Potential obstacles and free-standing objects should be coloured in such a way that they stand out from their surroundings.
Handrails which contrast with walls and are attached to a wall at waist height are a good aid. They should be applied to all staircases and could be considered in wards for older people.
Signage as an essential part of an integrated design scheme. Graphics can help in adding interest to health care buildings.
Colour-coding can be an efficient method of assisting orientation as well as navigation within a building.
Steel and glass, used widely in modern buildings, create considerable problems especially for visually impaired people. This should be avoided.
Hard flooring such as linoleum, rubber or PVC for hospitals is a staple material. Hospitals are usually complex buildings, and they run more smoothly if people, both staff and visitors, can find their way about. Colour design is a powerful way finding tool if it is planned with care. The hospitals are properly-designed visual environment, with the appropriate use of colors which have important benefits. It can make the health care experience more pleasant for a wide range of users from the elderly to the very young. A balance is required between providing good colour rendering of people’s faces and good colour definition generally, and producing an adequate upbeat light environment to sustain the ambience.
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