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This Calgary medical clinic embraces wabi-sabi design philosophy.
One of the most important factors in any interior design project is how the space is going to be used. The design of a medical clinic, of course, needs to be function-forward. But what about a clinic where all the patients are under the influence of psychedelic drugs?
It’s a pretty niche area, but designer Mikaela Blain of Solo Studio had a bit of experience in a related field—she’d worked on a number of cannabis shops, which have that same style-meets-function mandate. “The hope for this kind of space is for it to be comforting, welcoming, and not overly clinical,” says Blain. The Calgary clinic, called Sabi Mind, is the first of its kind in Canada. “Although it is a treatment space, we wanted it to feel almost residential,” says the designer.
That residential feel was achieved through using wabi-sabi techniques: plenty of natural materials, warm diffused light and comfortable furnishings that are a far cry from the average doctor’s office décor. Let’s take a tour.
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The focal point of Sabi Mind’s reception area is a stunning circle gate cut out of the white oak wall. According to the designer, this was to make clear the divide between public and private space—for the patient, it strongly differentiates the clinic from the outside world. Greenery gives the area a grounded feel (see if you can spot the kokedama—meaning the plant’s roots are wrapped up in a moss ball—from Calgary-based Kokedama).
The “Sabi room” is an area designed as a pre- and post-treatment room. “The low-slug furniture and a translucent wall, so there is a lot of play with light and dark,” says Blain. “The lighting is very warm, and certainly not at high levels, to allow that sort of transient intangible feeling of moving through those spaces.”
The treatment rooms themselves were made to be home-y but not cluttered or busy. Minimalist sofas from Article and Eames loungers give the rooms a classic feel, and wooden mobiles by Vancouver artist David Ullock add dynamism. “They dance on their own which is really lovely—It’s a really nice focal point, like staring into a fire.”
There’s also an education room, which is used for staff meetings as well as facilitating courses. Custom millwork and a textured paper pendant (Tekiò Horizontal from Santa & Cole) make it feel more like a home office than a board room.
It’s a cozy, relaxed space, one that promotes mindfulness and healing. “There’s a softness to the space to combat that unease or insecurity you may feel,” says Blain. “We did that by using as many natural and familiar textures as possible.”
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