As well as office environments, we specialise in design and fit-out for medical facilities and life science laboratories. We recently delivered a unique and highly technical specialist build for Karl Storz – creating the only showroom of its kind in the UK.
Karl Storz is one of the world’s leading endoscope manufacturers for human and veterinary medicine. They combine endoscopy with software solutions to develop fully integrated operating theatres, and support clinical process and resource management. One of the key challenges for the business, in servicing and growing its client base, has always been the requirement to visit hospitals, clinics and medical facilities. Karl Storz specialists typically work alongside surgical teams in live theatre environments, and this naturally became a critical issue during the Covid-19 pandemic. All medical establishments had to restrict visitors.
The solution? Investing in a fully functional demonstration and hospitality suite for its UK headquarters, in Slough, that clients can visit. The business already has an operational showroom and visitor centre at its global headquarters, in Germany, so they knew this approach would work.
Crown’s brief was to create a professional, modern hospitality and demonstration facility featuring a high-spec working operating theatre and anaesthetic room, demo booths, a flexible showroom area, a business lounge and storage space.
This new centre would enable technicians to actively demonstrate their range of 15,000 endoscopic instruments for human medicine, veterinary medicine, and industrial endoscopy – in a live environment.
The canvas was 4019 sq ft, with a warehouse design structure, adjacent to training and meeting facilities. Our team started by reviewing and challenging historic design ideas for the space, before developing a brand-new, bespoke layout design.
Designing and building a multi-disciplinary, mixed-use space that seamlessly blends a warm and welcoming visitor area with practical, functional demonstration zones and medical training facilities was a complex challenge.
Clare Wilkinson, Crown Interiors’ Head of Design, explains how she married the contrasting elements: “The space needed maximum flexibility to serve multiple functions, so we had to come up with flexible elements that would sit harmoniously next to each other yet be adapted quickly.
“In a medical facility, most users would expect to see clinical finishes and primary colours, but I wanted to challenge this expectation and create a comfortable, inviting environment which could be practical, but also beautiful. We needed to create a space that simultaneously offered the functionality of a business lounge and the relaxing aspect of a hotel lounge. So I created a welcoming hospitality zone that offered social interaction and connection away from the operating theatre. I included a variety of different seating styles and zones, so each user can choose a setup that meets their needs at any given time.”
Thinking about how people would use each zone – and move between them – was central to our design. And we had to provide the flexibility to adapt each area for collaboration and private work.
We installed smart-switch privacy glass to separate the training zone and the demonstration suite, with foldable glass screens for the demonstration booths. This gives occupants the power to open up the space or opt for privacy, depending on the users and the task. The centre is also fully connected, with professional audio-visual facilities to enhance training and demos.
Good visibility between zones was key, so lines of sight were factored into the design. Integrating slatted walls of glass display cabinets into the architectural structure provided the perfect solution, offering clear visibility from both sides.
With many larger pieces of equipment in the operating theatre being pendant-based precision instruments, structural integrity was critical. So we worked with structural engineers to skilfully integrate steel support structures into the design, without undermining the aesthetic.
We took time to source materials and furnishings throughout that would be both functional and visually appealing. We opted for a warm palette in the lounge area, using natural timbers to form a portal over the bar, and a terrazzo style floor to inject pattern and texture. It was important to include subtle brand identity throughout the space, so we featured a range of blue tones in the soft furnishings.
Lighting has a huge impact on the feel of a space. I wanted to keep it soft and warm in the welcome area by integrating hidden lighting into the back bar shelves, bar counter and display cabinets. And we installed colour-changing LED lights in the operating theatre.
The project was completed and delivered in early 2021, following a 20-week programme of work. Crown Interiors is incredibly proud to have created a groundbreaking facility – the first and only one of its kind in the UK. A sophisticated flexible-use suite.
“KARL STORZ Endoscopy (UK) Ltd had the vision of a centre where our customers could visit and see our surgical solutions; Crown Interiors has facilitated this it into what is a fantastic customer experience with a real wow factor. Through the design and build phases Crown Interiors have been exceptional; creating thoughtful and impacting designs, great communicators, highest quality build and a seamless project management. It’s been a stress free professional relationship.” — Mark Martin, Sales and Marketing Director
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