My journey as a student to an interior designer encompasses inspirations and insights from many creatives and creators, leading me to understand the importance of human experience within interior design. My goal is to become a multifaceted designer that can create meaningful spaces for everyone. With my continuous knowledge and passion in sustainable and inclusive design, I aspire to become a designer that can satisfy the psychology behind a quality space.
In collaboration with Canada's largest mental health association, CAMH is experienced in treating all varieties of mental health illnesses. It is with the in-depth understanding and research at CAMH that allows Overdrive to be funded as a space for exposure treatment in real-life mock ups. Overdrive is an adaptive treatment facility and a healing environment with a variety of services and functions of the space to support the treatments of patients. By creating a facility specifically for Social Anxiety and a new direction of treatment, the goal is to help those with Social Anxiety to desensitize their fears of social or public environments and encounters.
Rationale and Design Narrative
Mental health workers and its advocates have increasingly shed light on the importance of mental health and people who are affected by it. However, the spectrum of mental health illnesses are extremely broad and it is difficult to specialize and treat every one individually. By creating a facility dedicated for Social Anxiety it allows healthcare workers to analyze the symptoms of their patients further. The real-life mock up space allows patients to have a first hand experience with how they feel and practitioners can observe the severity of the symptoms and find a more suitable treatment plan. Aside from experimenting with a new form of treatment, the additional spaces support the path to recovery for patients. Spaces such as the fitness room can become a new relief outlet for patients to redirect their energy, the cafe and seminar lounge can bring in various forms of interactions and the isolation rooms for those who need a quiet, isolated space to cool off.
Design Connection to Research
In designing a space prioritizing mental health, there were four design principles to consider: colour psychology, human factors in distancing, lighting theories and biophilic elements. Colours affect the human experience by increasing or decreasing certain emotions - resulting with heavy use of earth tones, blues and greens for a calming effect. Human distancing affects the space by how big or small it is and how many people are situated in one space, the public spaces and corridors have wider walkways and distance between one another. Lighting theories such as natural light, ambient light, and accent lighting create different atmospheres. Additionally, the increased amount to natural light can be beneficial for occupants' emotions and mental well-being. Biophilic elements is also consideration in placements of natural lighting such as skylights and glazing walls, and to bring nature indoors, the use of a living green wall is implemented.
Character of Space
Shaped by influences of human behaviours, the space carries curved forms throughout to provide occupants with a more welcoming atmosphere. It varies in vertical heights to manipulate human perception. For social spaces, ceiling heights are raised up to 15ft, semi-private spaces up to 11ft and private spaces up to 9ft. The finishes used in the the space are inspired by nature such as woods, greens and blues - also deemed as calming colours from a human psychological perspective. Meanwhile, to steer away from hostile environments in modern medical interiors, pops of colours such as pinks and oranges are used to evoke elevated emotions to create a more sociable environment.
Overdrive is categorized into three forms of spaces - social, semi-private, and private spaces. In the social spaces, it allows for increased interactions and social performance such as reception area, cafe, seminar lounge, digital station, library, seating niches and the mock-up simulation rooms. The semi-private spaces are dedicated for short-term dwelling - not open for public roaming and intended for low levels of interactions such as the practitioner's offices, multi-purpose room, admin offices, fitness room, staff room, debrief rooms and service rooms. The private spaces are reserved for minimal and private human interactions which includes isolation rooms, therapy rooms, and washrooms. With this program consideration it provides patients with various spaces dependent on their comfort level in socializing. It can slowly encourage patients to slowly engage in more interactions with others and to desensitize their fears naturally by creating a community within this facility.