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Designing 
Peace of Mind

NORTHERN BEACHES HOSPITAL

 Designing Peace Of Mind
Urbanite was engaged by CPB Contractors to undertake the signage, wayfinding and graphics for the new Northern Beaches Hospital - an $840 Million, 488 bed public and private hospital. The hospital was designed by BVN architects and Urbanite’s scope included every aspect of signage for both the hospital interiors, external precinct and separate multi-level car park, consisting of over 6,000 signs and 300 wall graphics across the 8 levels.

Hospitals are stressful environments which require clear, concise and well-designed wayfinding systems. A key objective of the system was to quickly and efficiently get patients and visitors to their destinations with minimal confusion or anxiety. In addition to this, there was a requirement to delineate the private and public parts of the hospital without overtly labelling each area. 

A key project objective was to create memorable and describable journeys, rather than an over reliance on signage. These graphics were intended to calm patients and activate interest in certain long corridors and areas such as department check-ins. 
 Designing Peace Of Mind
 Designing Peace Of Mind
 Designing Peace Of Mind
 Designing Peace Of Mind
 Designing Peace Of Mind

CONNECTING THE HOSPITAL TO ITS UNIQUE LOCATION WAS ALSO PARAMOUNT

Nestled between the Northern Beaches coastline and dense bush, integration within the hospital was key so that all signage and wayfinding elements did not appear as an afterthought but blended in with the architectural design intent and surrounding natural landscape. 

Over 300 graphics are located throughout the space at key decision and destination points, with the feature graphic being located within the central atrium space spanning over 6 storeys in the central void. Working with a local photographer and an adjacent Northern Beaches primary school photography competition, we created two atrium super graphics acting as the main orientation points in the atrium space. 
 Designing Peace Of Mind

A HEALTHY DESIGN LANGUAGE

There were a number of challenges including but not limited to: the need to delineate between public and private area; creating a consistent and clear design language across interiors, precinct and car park areas that spoke to multiple user-types such as staff, patients, visitors, students on so on across a complex building with over 30 departments, and materiality considerations to ensure for hygienic and ease of maintenance and cleaning. 

Taking inspiration from the unique location of the hospital, Urbanite visited the site surrounds ranging from the dense bushland to the sandy beaches. The team then sourced unique items from each and formed the themes based on their findings to delineate the private and public areas on the hospital. 
 Designing Peace Of Mind
 Designing Peace Of Mind
 Designing Peace Of Mind
This took the form of the blue and green colourways, for example where the large-scale placemaking graphics help to intuitively indicate levels of the hospital, i.e., the blue feather floor.

While patient and visitor signage took on these colours, staff and back-of-house signage became a charcoal colour. This assisted patients in finding their destination through all signage non-relevant to them being a more neutral colour. 
"When we started working on this project many solutions were not resonating with us, so one weekend we went out to Ku Ring Gai Chase National Park and Narabeen Beach - both in the area surrounding the hospital, to gather inspiration. We noticed the beautiful, diverse flora and started to collect artifacts, after which we quickly realised that what we had was a really authentic representation of the area. We employed Tim Jones to photograph over 50 of the collected specimens and in doing so captured the true spirit and a strong unique sense of the place, as well as a huge collection of design assets".
Carlo Giannasca
Head of environments / partner Urbanite
 

 
 Designing Peace Of Mind
 Designing Peace Of Mind
 Designing Peace Of Mind
Signage throughout the external precinct and multi-storey carpark drew upon the same design language and signage family using consistent fonts, details and scale, although differing wayfinding strategies were utilised to address the unique challenges for each of these spaces’ functions. The car park for instance, uses a level colour strategy uniquely developed to ensure users with colour blindness are not affected by colours which may look similar. 
 Designing Peace Of Mind
 Designing Peace Of Mind

BETTER TOGETHER

The combination of differing scales of environmental graphics unique to the Northern Beaches, along with the coloured sign-forms result in a unique and place-sensitive scheme that truly celebrate the location and character of the hospital’s area. The involvement of the community through the collaboration with local photographers and public schools has resulted in a hospital that is already ingrained in the fabric of the community in a space they helped to design. The vast scale of the project, multiple areas and the way in which the spaces and surroundings are intrinsically linked, ensures that this scheme is more than just a successful wayfinding system, it is a celebration of the project and the Northern Beaches. 
 Designing Peace Of Mind
 Designing Peace Of Mind