In the U.S., the dental industry has grown by 2.5% in the last five years. But that doesn’t mean Americans particularly enjoy getting their teeth cleaned. In fact, some estimates reveal that roughly 60% of people have anxiety surrounding the dentist, while anywhere from 5-10% have full-blown dental phobia. But maybe patients wouldn’t put off their regular appointments if dental offices were transformed into places we actually wanted to be.
That’s what famed architectural firm Studio Karhard is counting on. Their latest project, The Urban Dentist, is a fresh new take on the traditional dentist office of years past. Its unique design is reminiscent of the firm’s most well-known enterprise, the iconic Berghain nightclub in Berlin. That’s intentional, as a group of three dentists — Mohammed Alef, Sang-ji Kim, and Venelina Dimitrov — approached the firm with an idea to put their magic touch on a new 3,875 square foot space.
What emerged was anything but ordinary. Studio Karhard, led by co-founders Alexandra Erhard and Thomas Karsten, used many of the elements found in their clubs, such as industrial materials, mirrors, and programmable lighting that changes constantly to elicit a calming effect.
As Erhard explained to FastCompany.com via email: “We avoided typical materials like glossy white surfaces and used colorful materials and dark colors to create a warm and friendly atmosphere.”
In the end, The Urban Dentist looks way more like a cocktail bar or trendy nightclub, with its colorful stone desks and millennial pink furniture. Although approximately 15% of a home’s wall space is devoted to windows, there’s no shortage of them here, either — though blinds are liberally used to provide privacy and to add to the ambiance.
The treatment rooms are slightly less swanky, though they’re still devoid of the sterile feel most dental offices have. Drawers and cabinets are blush in hue, furniture features brass framing, and the chairs and dental equipment are sleek and state-of-the-art. Fluted glass wall panels are featured throughout the dentists’ corridors, while industrial metals are used to define different spaces.
It’s the hope of both the dental team and the design studio that these changes will ease the minds of nervous patients and convince them to keep their appointments. A change in atmosphere can certainly ease anxieties — though at the end of the day, one still might need a root canal or require a cavity to be filled. At least if you have to go under the drill, you can do it while surrounded by pale pink decor.