The Royal Children’s hospital designed by Billard Leece Partnership and Bates Smart won the Colour in Commercial Design Award at the 2012 Australian Interior Design Awards.
Melbourne’s $1 billion Royal Children’s Hospital uses innovative and evidence-based design principles to reflect changing healthcare practices, workplace patterns, user expectations, community aspirations and environmental responsibility. The overall design of the interiors is underpinned by the therapeutic benefits of nature in the healing process. The design story is derived from forms, patination and colour that have been mapped directly from the natural world to form an enriching and restorative environment for children, staff and the public. Considered detailing invites the human touch and de-institutionalizes the hospital genre. At the heart of the hospital is the six-storey Main Street, a naturally lit public thoroughfare that links all the elements of the hospital together and seamlessly integrates it with the parkland beyond. The approach to colour is intrinsically linked to the wayfinding strategy, which celebrates the many landscapes that make up the state of Victoria. Colours derived from the environment define each level and have been applied in a coordinated approach, from signage through to environmental graphics, paint, joinery, vinyl, furniture and soft furnishings. The result is an engaging and coherent, joyful and uplifting range of interiors.
The manipulation of colour in the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) is sophisticated and intelligent. The deft hand of the interior design team has created a palette that is calming, fresh and optimistic. The colour and material strategy provides the RCH with a welcoming healthcare interior without the need to disguise the spaces as something else. Muted soft colours are a unifying element throughout all areas and elements, such as the environmental graphics, joinery, loose furniture and artworks that recognize hospitals as places for staff, volunteers and, of course, young patients and their families.