Fiona de Vos works with hospitals, nursing homes, mental healthcare facilities and other healthcare organizations to define strategic objectives and design goals from the perspective
of evidence-based space design and a healing environment. She is the expert teaching this course at the University of Amsterdam. And also the founder of Studio dVO, a consulting and research firm specializing in the interaction between people and the physical environment, including offices and children’s environments.
The firm’s core business is to improve the fit between healthcare settings and their users. This is in order to enhance healing and wellbeing, and to improve a healthcare organization’s clinical outcomes, economic performance, productivity and customer satisfaction. Much of her experience originates in the United States, where she worked intensively with – among others – Bruce Komiske, a renowned and visionary project executive and expert in designing and building children’s hospitals.
But she is already thinking ahead, she says. “I’m very interested in generative space. This is a vision developed by Wayne Ruga, my coach in the United States.”
“The reason I prefer to use the term generative space design is that healing environment has become a catch-all term. The concept of the healing environment has become a chant, a sort of enchanted
prayer that is uttered indiscriminately. A lot of hospitals seem to think that natural light, singlepatient rooms and a green plant in the hallway will do.”
Every design choice has consequences, a fact that warrants serious consideration. “I am the common denominator between the client, for instance a hospital, and the architect. It’s not just the design that is essential; the location, orientation and decoration are just as important, as is the use of materials.”
Fiona de Vos uses acoustics to underline her point. “Noise on a neonatal ward creates stress in babies. It raises their heart rate and lowers their saturation.”
Read the full interview with Fiona in the new digital ECO Magazine Healthcare Edition (completely free)
Join the conversation about healthcare sound environments by using #SafeAndSound