Bethany Lewin, Head Designer at Evans Textiles, answers some of Design Insider’s questions in regards to the importance of designing for Care Home environments.
There are many important factors to consider when designing for care environments. Firstly, it’s important to remember the pressures of an increasingly ageing population and the demand on care homes for safe, expertly designed fabrics. Secondly, designs should help to provide ‘home away from home’ for the residents that live there.
When designing, the residents and staff are at the heart of what we do. We design to positively impact emotions. For residents it’s about comfort and feeling at home. We’ve recently seen an uplift in our services as people move away from the same ‘tired’ interior designs and seek more unique, contemporary, domestic-like appearances within care.
A popular public misconception is that care environments are often clinical, dated or isolated – this is something we’re very keen to change. We design and print to add new remits of texture, colour, scale and familiarity that can be applied to a range of applications within the home. Our bespoke services give interior designers, care home professionals and residents something special that they won’t find within a ‘traditional’ or ‘typical’ healthcare setting.
Lastly, I’d like to add that design within any care facility is simply not just about the aesthetics, it’s about the whole package for residents and staff alike – influencing how they live & work together in a safe environment. Every fabric within the Bespoke by Evans collection conforms to the necessary British Standards, so we design with the fabric choices in mind too.
What effect do fabric schemes have on people suffering with dementia for example?
We know that good design allows for residents to help understand their surroundings, enables them to engage in familiar activities and encourages social interaction.
Each one of our designs has been hand-crafted to generate a sense of home, ease and warmth for residents, visitors and staff alike. For those suffering specifically with dementia, both colour and contrast are important considerations. We’ve purposely created a core collection of 6 designs in 7 contemporary colourways. Each design and colour are interchangeable allowing care environments to ‘mix and match’. The colour and contrast allow certain aspects of an interior to help those suffering with dementia identify features with the care environment such as seating.
Are there different textures/materials you use depending on the placement of the product?
Yes, fabric choice and use are crucially important. Providing hard working fabrics that are ‘fit for purpose’ is key in meeting the challenges faced in everyday healthcare environments. As standard, all of our fabrics are certified to British Standards for flame retardancy which means irrespective of space or function, there’s a safeguard for the less agile against potentially hazardous fire. Fabrics we provide also have additional properties that are engineered to meet the uses of the finished product and we support all of our customers on the fabric options available.
Take for instance, the fabric we design and print for upholstery purposes. We recommend our customers use fabrics which possess antimicrobial, waterproof and high abrasion properties –reducing the risk of infection and ensuring the product lasts. For care home staff these fabrics are easy to clean, durable and waterproof which makes working life a little easier.
What advice would you give to an interior designer when choosing their fabrics for a health care environment?
Unfortunately, there’s quite a lot of ‘smoke and mirrors’ within the industry with overly-complicated terminology for fabrics and their uses. Add that to the plethora of designs in numerous pattern books – it can become quite an overwhelming and time-consuming for interior designers and care homes to find what they’re looking for.
At Bespoke by Evans, we’ve simplified things for our customers and their clients. We have a core collection of 6 tried and tested designs, 9 compliant fabrics and we offer the option to create bespoke designs, ensuring our customers and their clients get exactly what they want.
As a rule, I would advise interior designers to ask the following when selecting a contract fabric supplier:
- What experience do they have – have you seen their previous work?
- Do they have a dedicated inhouse design department that will work collaboratively with you?
- Are the designs widely available to your competition?
- Can you create a point of difference with the fabrics that stands out within the care home?
- Are they competitive on price and are you committed to bulk orders only?
Can you tell us about a few of your favourite designs you have created for this sector?
That’s a tricky question as every brief we receive is very different and the requirements of the client and user can greatly vary. There’s a botanical design that we worked on very recently and it’s been a huge success with residents and staff. In fact, it’s been such a success it has been recognised for an International Design award by the Society of British and International Design.
Did you know there are FREE fabric swatches available? Visit www.bespokebyevans.com