Too often designers resort to cool blues and greens when designing for the elderly, in an attempt to create a soothing and calming environment. But why? When senior citizens go to the doctor, they are never told to just sit quietly at home and be calm. They are told to go out, get fresh air and be active! Why are our interiors saying the opposite?
Instead of creating calming and soothing interiors full of cool colors that subconsciously make their occupants feel cold, we should be creating interiors that are warm and full of energy that encourage people to be active and enjoy life.
St. James place, a senior living community in Baton rouge, was in need of ideas how they could improve their facility through design. The following are images of the process work and space planning, as well as some interior sketches. The idea was to bring in warm colors to:
a.) combat the psychosomatic cold that many elderly experience.
b.) increase the occupants’ appetite so they can better maintain their health.
c.) encourage a more active lifestyle.
Furthermore, mid-century modern furniture would be used throughout to use nostalgia as a memory aid. Every resident room would get its own stoop design with different wall cladding, different door colors and slightly different wall-mounted lights. This was residents would easily be able to identify their room even if they forget the room number.
To aid with wayfinding, hanging lights will be used throughout the halls. How often have you been in a public building looking for a room? Imagine you’re in a school looking for Auditorium A. If you are unfamiliar with the space you would find yourself looking at each room number as you approach each room. If this hypothetical school marked major assembly rooms with hanging signs, you would be able to identify the right room from the other end of the hall. Applying this hanging-sign system to St. James Place will allow residents to identify the activity rooms from a distance, while giving them the feeling that they are strolling along an old part of town in a European city.
One fun feature to be added to the dining hall, Le Petit Cafe, was an accent wall consisting of wall-mounted wine bottles from around the world. This display would be equipped with custom lighting to create a dramatic effect, and allow residents to enjoy the unique aesthetic of the assortment of old wine bottles. Who knows? Maybe one of them has had one of the displayed wines before.