Designing For Men
If the men in your family are like mine, they never go to the doctor until they absolutely have to—and even then they still wait a few more days before calling to get an appointment to get that cough looked at or that sore shoulder x-rayed.
But with the shift toward preventative care and an overall focus on wellness and community health, more men may be putting aside their fears and reluctance and going to the doctor more often. And when they do, shouldn’t the right environment be there to help welcome them, put them at ease, and ultimately keep them coming back?
I started wondering about the idea of designing for men after writing about the Best in Competition winner in the 2014 IIDA Healthcare Interior Design Competition. (For more see Healthcare Design’s October issue or read "Fine Tailoring At The Preston Robert Tisch Center For Men’s Health.")
NYU Langone Medical Center's 15,000-square-foot Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health, which opened in January 2014 in New York, has the vibe of executive suite-meets club-meets clothing boutique. It’s got a dark color palette, lots of wood finishes, and detailing, all chosen for their masculine appeal.
It’s also got glazed doorways so men can see from the waiting areas into the clinical areas, lots of windows and views of surrounding Midtown Manhattan, and clinical spaces that carry a tailored feel similar to that in the public spaces.
Essentially, it’s warm and strong.
Ted Shaw, senior designer at Perkins+Will (New York), says the design team used the idea of “strong but vulnerable” to create an appealing environment for the clinic’s clientele.
“It was about how do we create this environment where instead of people just going there when they’re sick, they feel more comfortable?” he says. “It’s pleasant to go to, it doesn’t feel clinical or ‘If I go in there, I could be diagnosed with something I don’t want to know about or face up to.’”
A lot of healthcare has transitioned in the past few years from cold and clinical to airy and light-filled, with warmer material palettes, pops of color, and respite spaces. There’s also been a growing market for women’s and children’s specialty centers.
Time will tell if a trend in men’s clinics catches on, but in the meantime, what design features can be used in existing healthcare environments to appeal to these most reluctant of patients? What do you think men want?