Aesthetic Design

Solutions for improving occupant outcomes in the built environment

When designing a building interior why enhance the aesthetic design?

A properly designed visual environment, with the appropriate use of colour, lighting , texture and shape will have important benefits in any building - potentially offering a positive impact on health, wellbeing and productivity. A relatively small investment in good, thoughtful aesthetic design may reap major dividends over many years for the occupants. It is important to create an interior environment that captures our interest, stimulates the senses and for some building applications, such as healthcare, provides positive distractions.

Using British Gypsum’s range of acoustic ceiling products and curved ceiling & partition systems it is possible to create environments that offer exceptional aesthetic design that will have a positive impact on the occupants.

What problems do enhancing aesthetics solve? How do bad aesthetics affect people?

Within the field of Evidence Based Design, there have been numerous studies published across a wide range of building types and usages. These cover the many effects that poor internal environments have on occupiers and often then go on to demonstrate the positive impact on people’s health, wellbeing and productivity when the indoor environment is improved.

Within literature there is a large body of work looking at how interior aesthetic design affects healthcare environments. A good deal of this is referenced in Health Building Notes (HBNs).

Effect in Hospitals

The field of healthcare design is currently undergoing an exciting transformation that will significantly change the appearance of our hospitals. More and more healthcare administrators and medical professionals are becoming aware of the need to create ‘healing environments’ that support the needs of patients, family and staff. The key factor motivating this awareness has been growing scientific evidence that the physical environment in which medical care is provided has an impact on health and well-being (1).

Healthcare facilities should provide a therapeutic environment in which the overall design of the building contributes to the process of healing rather than simply being a place where treatment takes place (2). Well designed healthcare buildings can help patients recover their health and wellbeing and have a positive effect on staff performance and retention (2).

Every object, material and surface in an environment can contribute to the overall success of that space for users (3). Texture is an important design element that helps to create therapeutic environments (4). This has applications for furnishings, wall coverings, art installations and flooring (4). Surface textures and choice of materials provide visual and tactile clues to help people with poor vision navigate a building (5). Colour also has the potential to change spaces into interesting environments, to add stimulation in an otherwise monotonous space, and can even aid navigation or orientation for people with dementia (3).

In literature, colours are linked to physiological, psychological, and social reactions of human beings (6 & 7). There is a general consensus that warmer colours tend to activate, stimulate and energise, while cooler colours are more calming and relaxing (7 & 8).

What are the solutions? How can a thoughtful aesthetic environment be created?

Using British Gypsum systems it is possible to create interior environments that are visually stunning and will have a positive impact on the occupiers. British Gypsum offer a wide range of acoustic ceiling products with stylish perforated designs with high light reflectance values allowing for spaces to be created with depth and contrast. British Gypsum also offers both wall and ceiling systems for creating curved surfaces to bring a sense of flow to a room. Plasterboard systems and ceiling boards can be painted in any colour allowing the designer to achieve the perfect look and feel for their project.

    Curved partitions and ceilings

    Gypsum‐based plasterboards can enhance the interior aesthetic, including flexible boards for creating attractive curved walls and ceilings and drywall solutions with a choice of smooth or textured finish to complement the interior design (9). While straight walls deliver crisp, clean lines and are easy to work with, curved walls offer something rather different. They may not be as common, but walls that curve and bend automatically bring a sense of flow and energy to a room (10).

    Use of colour and texture

    Colour plays a vital role in providing information and spatial orientation, helping occupants make sense of their surroundings (5). Approved Document M of the Building Regulations defines visual contrast by referring to a difference in light reflectance values (between ceilings, walls and floors) (2). Contrast can identify obstacles and hardware that might prove difficult to negotiate. Features of a building which create tonal detail or shadows can also aid the visually impaired. Well‐designed, ambient environments will manage transitions of lighting and colour design to allow the eye to adapt to changes in lighting levels (5). Many visually impaired people can make out a certain level of contrast in everyday lighting conditions, so it is useful, for example, for walls and floors to be of different light reflectances. As a general rule, a 20–30% difference in light reflectance values between adjacent surfaces is sufficient for most people to understand environments more easily (5). 

    High reflectance materials are required to give visual lightness, otherwise the surface – and hence the space itself – is likely to appear dark, even when high levels of light are used (5). The use of high performance ceiling tiles with light reflectance valves of 70% or above with walls painted to give light reflectance values at around 50% can be a great solution for helping to create an environment that both maximises the amount of light and assists the visually impaired with moving around.

    Typical ceiling tile light reflectances:

    Gyptone Base 31
    Gyptone Point 11
    Gyptone Point 12
    Gyptone Quattro 20
    Gyptone Quattro 22
    Gyptone Quattro 50
    Gyptone Quattro 20
    Gyptone Line 4
    Gyptone Sixto 60

    Gyptone Tiles & Planks

    Visually appealing ceiling tilesGyptone suspended ceiling tiles and planks can be used either in conjunction with Gyptone acoustic ceiling boards or as a stand-alone system in their own right. You can choose from five eye-catching designs, inspired by a theme of basic geometric patterns, to create the visual effect that you want. Easy to install and fully demountable, Gyptone can be used either as part of a new build design, or to achieve an instant improvement in aesthetics and acoustics as part of a refurbishment, upgrade or change of use project.

    In the majority of buildings, a suspended ceiling needs to provide not only aesthetic form and acoustic performance, but also accessibility. Above the ceiling lies an increasingly complex network of cables, ducting, mechanical equipment and services, all requiring access during installation, maintenance and repair. The CasoLine Quick-Lock Grid provides the perfect suspension system for Gyptone tiles and planks. It is quick and simple to install, and provides a demountable system that is easy to remove, replace and even reposition if required.

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    Gyptone boards

    Visually appealing ceiling tilesGyptone has inspired a new generation of ceiling designs, immediately recognisable in many high profile buildings across the UK and Europe. Our Gyptone ceilings provide the ideal solution for reception areas, vibrant classrooms, intimate restaurant spaces and stunning retail interiors. As with our Rigitone systems, Gyptone can be painted in any colour, a key aspect in interior design decisions.

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    Rigitone Range

    visually appealing ceiling tilesRigitone allows you to create stunning, seamless, high performance designs with the grid completely out of sight. Secured to our CasoLine MF system, Rigitone boards come in eight distinctive perforation patterns that join together to give an unbroken regular or random, flat or curved pattern across the entire ceiling area.

    Rigitone is tough enough to withstand impact, yet versatile enough to form different contours and orientations. It can be painted in any colour which is a key aspect in interior design decisions. With Rigitone acoustic ceilings there are simply no rules, just the flexibility to create exactly the ceiling style you want.

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    (1) A van den Berg, F Jaspers, C Wagenaar (2005). Health Impacts of Healing Environments: A review of evidence of nature, daylight, fresh air, and quiet in healthcare settings. Foundation 200 years University Hospital Groningen

    (2) M Phiri. Health Building Note 00-01. General design guidance for healthcare buildings. Department of Health. 2014.

    (3) H Dalke & M Matheson. Colour design schemes for long-term healthcare environments. 2007.

    (4) S Semrou. Natural elements for healthcare interiors: Using light, colour and texture to bring the outdoors inside. Aug 2015.

    (5) H Dalke, P J Littlefair, D L Loe, N Camgoz. Lighting and colour for hospital design: A report on an NHS Estates Funded Research Project. NHS Estates & BRE. 2004.

    (6) H Salonen , L Morawska. Physical characteristics of the indoor environment that affect health and wellbeing in healthcare facilities: A review. Intelligent Buildings International, 2013.

    (7) Tofle, R.B., Schwartz, B., Yoon, S.-Y., Max-Royale, A. Color in healthcare environments - A research report. 2003.

    (8) Ampt A, Harris P, Maxwell M. The health impacts of the design of hospital facilities on patient recovery and wellbeing: A review of the literature. Centre for Primary Healthcare and Equity, University of New South Wales, Sydney. 2008.

    (9) GPDA highlights wellbeing role of gypsum products. Spec Finish magazine. Jul 2014.

    (10) J Simmons. Architecture: 10 Reasons to Consider Curved Walls Inside and Out. Jul 2015.

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