Since 1950, Carnegie’s founder Bob Goldman’s core philosophy has been: do good, never settle, be better. Along with its commitment to all employees, customers and to design excellence itself, Carnegie is also focused on the pursuit of developing sustainable materials. While sustainability has been a trending topic of late, the Carnegie family has been doing more than just talking the talk for quite some time now. Bob Goldman’s son, Cliff, helped usher in the sustainability movement around building materials since its nascent stages in the early 90’s.
Given the company’s rich history and experience in the industry, I was very excited about the prospect of developing a collection with Carnegie. Having not updated their healthcare collection for some time, the company was looking to modernize their offering of textiles and wallcoverings. More specifically, they wanted a healthcare collection that could also serve both the hospitality and workplace markets, so when they reached out to work together, it was really important to me that we create something that was not only soothing to the eye, but also sophisticated enough for applications in a variety of environments as well.
Threading the needle would prove to be the toughest recurring challenge behind creating this collection. How do we create something original, fresh and eye-catching without being overly busy or distracting to patients? How do we make these designs personal and human-centric while simultaneously managing to not alienate the different specifiers of each sector we're targeting? These were the sorts of questions going through my head at the time as we were creating the collection.
Ultimately for me, it always comes back to the end user, in this case the “patient”. In many ways, one can loosely consider the average worker in an office or customer in an establishment as a ‘patient’ in that they seek to feel some blend of pleasure, comfort or other form of nourishment. Similarly, when considering what to design for a specific space, I try to keep this end user in mind and create something that ultimately helps sooth and even “heal” some part of them.
In this pursuit of wellness-based design, I consulted with experts in the medical field who gave me some insights into what to consider and more importantly, what to avoid when creating designs for a healthcare space. For example, I learned that it would be best to stray away from broken lines or more ‘fractured” elements as they tend to carry the wrong connotations with patients. They also advised staying away from using reds and greens that could potentially call certain illnesses to mind.
In addition to the counsel of experts, I also looked inward and recalled some personal experiences that informed my design choices. When my mother was in the hospital a few years ago, recovering post surgery, I remember there were no windows in her room and the light was very dim and lethargic. In many ways, I sought to create the ideal conditions that I felt she should have experienced during her stay.
In order to combat this claustrophobic and grim feeling, I used imagery evocative of expansive fields outside, giving one a sense of being immersed in nature despite being stuck inside. I also used a color palette that was lighter, more ethereal and slightly earthy as well, making use of sophisticated tones that seek to uplift and calm the patient.
Now that it is complete, I am really proud of this collection and feel like the explorations required to create it have really challenged me as a designer and have helped strengthen my brand’s core ethos & beliefs. I have always been passionate about promoting healing and wellness in my work by working with fluid forms found in nature that are poetic and inspired rather than tired and overused. While the color palette is not typical for healthcare, I feel the neutral colors I chose are sophisticated and deeply calming. I wanted to shy away from the dodgy colors one would typically see in patient rooms and instead provide a palette with more of an ethereal lightness or buoyancy to it.